New MP Tausi to be the next Speaker?

Parliament to decide in March or April

Expect a new Speaker for Tuvalu’s parliament when parliament sits either in March or April. Following the Nanumaga by-election on January 14—Otinielu Tausi won the seat and joined Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga’s government side, taking their numbers to 10 as opposed to the Opposition’s four. Tausi confirmed to Islands Business that he had joined Sopoaga’s side and would likely become Speaker barring any surprises.

His joining government means they now have the constitutional majority to pass a motion in parliament seeking Sir Kamuta Latasi’s removal. Latasi was involved in a political controversy in then Prime Minister Willie Telavi’s attempts to hold onto his job. Twice the Governor-General Sir Italeli Iakoba had to use his powers to ensure proper constitutional procedures were observed. Finikaso said once all government MPs were on the island, they would call parliament and follow the proper channels to remove the Speaker.

Tausi said the job is nothing new as he was Speaker from 2003 to 2006. On the needs of his constituency in Nanumaga, he said food security was not only a problem for his island but the whole nation. “We rely too much on imports and I would like to see my people plan more so they are not dependent on imports,” he said. “We can plant potatoes and bananas instead of relying on imported flour and rice. Eighty percent of our imports are from Australia.” The Nanumaga seat was declared vacant after Dr Falesa Pitoi fell ill a year ago. He has not set foot on Tuvalu since.

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