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New Tuvaluan MPs get key cabinet portfolios
4:51 pm GMT+12, 29/09/2010, Tuvalu
Former Tuvaluan Prime Minister, Matia Toafa, returned to the top job today after polling nine of the 15 votes in parliament.

Radio Tuvalu reports that Toafa’s lead was secured by the support of the five newly elected members of parliament.

All the five new MP’s have been given key cabinet portfolios including foreign affairs, finance and health.

Former diplomat and climate change negotiator, Enele Sopoanga is the new foreign affairs, environment and labour minister while new comer, Monise Laafai from Nanumaga takes over the finance portfolio.  Former journalist and clerk to parliament, Sauoa Maani becomes the new minister for health.

Another new MP, Isaia Taeia will be sworn in as the country’s new Speaker to Parliament. He is the younger brother of the Governor General, Iakopa Italeli Taeia.

All the eight cabinet ministers were sworn in immediately after Prime Minister Toafa took his oath of office at Government House.

According to Radio Tuvalu, the first item on the agenda of the first cabinet meeting this afternoon was the programme for the country’s 32 Independence celebrations, planned for this Friday (01 October).

In his first public interview with Radio Tuvalu, Prime Minister Toafa urged his new cabinet ministers to strive to better servants of the people of Tuvalu.

He was elected on the votes of the five new MP’s and three members that defected from the former government’s camp.

At the end of the vote, Kausea Natano polled six votes to Toafa’s nine.
Straight after the vote in parliament, Mr Toafa was presented to the Governor General, Iakopa Italeli Taeia, where he was sworn in as Prime Minister.

Mr Toafa was Prime Minister from 2004-2006 before he lost his seat to Apisai Ielemia.

SOURCE: RADIO TUVALU/PACNEWS


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