Tongan People's Reps Call For A Commoner To Be PM

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Agreement reached by majority of 26 MPs

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, December 3, 2014) – Agreement that Tonga’s next Prime Minister must be an elected People’s Representative, was reached at a meeting of 14 of Tonga’s 17 newly-elected People’s Representatives this morning, December 3, according to a spokesperson.

The Members of Parliament at the meeting included seven Independent People’s Representatives as well as ten who are aligned with the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands.

‘Etuate Lavulavu, the newly elected People’s Representative for Vava’u No. 16 Constituency who is the spokesperson for seven independent PRs, said that they met with MPs aligned with the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (DPFI).

He described it as "a joyful gathering" and said that ‘Akilisi Pohiva on behalf of the Party had expressed a willingness of the party to work together with the independent members, "because the Party did not win all of the 17 seats for the People."

‘Etuate said that with that spirit of having the 17 People’s Representatives working together they had unanimously agreed that Tonga’s next Prime Minister "must be an elected People’s Representative."

He said that no names were put forward as candidates for a Prime Minister, but the PRs had agreed to meet again soon.

He anticipated that the 17 PRs should be able to agree on a nomination for a Prime Minister by Monday, 8 December.

The meeting also agreed for two spokespersons for the group, who are ‘Etuate Lavulavu for the independent members, and Pohiva Tui’onetoa for the DPFI.

However, this evening Pohiva Tui’onetoa declined to comment on what ‘Etuate had reported from the meeting, and said that Mateni Tapueluelu is their second spokesperson.

Earlier this week the independent members had met with the nine Nobles’ Representatives, and were informed that the nobles had already selected Lord Vaea as their nomination for a Prime Minister.

‘Etuate said that they informed the nobles of their desire for Tonga to have an elected People’s Representatives as Tonga’s next Prime Minister.

The three elected members who did not attend today’s meeting were Fe’ao Vakata and Poasi Tei from the independent members and Tevita Lavemaau from the DPFI.

Since the November 27 election Vuna Fa’otusia has affiliated himself with the DPFI, so there are currently seven independent members and ten who belong to the DPFI.

The independents are Samiu Vaipulu, Fe’ao Vakata, Saia Piukala, ‘Etuate Lavulavu, Siaosi Sovaleni, Poasi Tei and Vili Hingano.

The DPFI affiliates are ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Semisi Sika, ‘Aisake Eke, Mateni Tapueluelu, Pohiva Tu’ionetoa, Semisi Fakahau, Penisimani Fifita, Tevita Lavemaau, Veivosa Taka, and Vuna Fa’otusia.

A nominated Prime Minister must receive more than half of the votes of the 26 members Legislative Assembly.

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