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Two nominees for Tongan PM

PM Akilisi Pohiva

NUKU’ALOFA – December 15: 11.50am (Nuku’alofa Times): Two nominations have been received for the position of Prime Minister when the nomination period ended at 4.30pm yesterday at the Tonga Legislative Assembly Office here in Nuku’alofa.

Interim Speaker Lord Tangi confirmed this yesterday.

And elected Members of Parliament – both Nobles (9) and the Peoples’ Representatives (17) will cast their votes through secret ballot on Monday, December 18 to elect the Prime Minister.

The first nomination was handed in last week by Dr Pohiva Tuionetoa, the current interim Finance Minister and strong supporter of Democratic Party leader and interim Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva.

The Nuku’alofa Times believes that the sealed envelope contained Mr Pohiva’s name as the party’s nominee for PM.

Hon Sovaleni

Hon Sovaleni

The second envelope was handed in by former Depauty Prime Minister and Vava’u rep Samiu Vaipulu.

That envelope is believed to contain the name of Tongatapu 3 MP and another former Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni.

While Mr Pohiva and his party won the clear majority of 14 seats in Parliament, the constitution still states that all elected MPs will have to elect the PM.

This is because Tonga does not operate under the party system.

It is believed that Mr Vaipulu, Mr Sovaleni and former Finance Minister Tevita Lavemaau are all teaming up with the Nobles and have lured some of Mr Pohiva’s followers across the floor with Cabinet postings.

But no one will know that until the election of the PM is done.

No one, however, will know who voted for who as the voting will be done in a secret ballot.

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