Former PM seeks re-election
PROTESTS in Funafuti, capital of Tuvalu, against Tuvalu’s newly appointed Chief Justice saw the deferment to March of a bi-election in the island’s parliament. Strongly tipped to win his Vaitupu seat again is Apisai Ielemia, although the government of Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga has put up an opponent. A member of the opposition and being a former Prime Minister himself, Hon Ielemia lost his seat in a controversial ruling of Chief Justice Charles Sweeney in October last year. Sweeney, an Australian, was appointed by the Tuvalu Governor General at the beginning of 2016 to replace Sir Gordon Ward, who has been unable to travel to Tuvalu through Fiji due to a travel ban the Fiji regime had imposed against him.
He was President of Fiji’s Court of Appeal until his resignation on December 2006 following the military coup that brought to power the then Fiji military commander Frank Bainimarama. Last November’s peaceful protests by about 80 people of mostly men but with some women, young people and children was the second in recent months, all aimed at CJ Sweeney. Protestors carried banners and placards telling the Australian jurist he was no longer welcome to set foot again on Funafuti. Judge Sweeney was reportedly in Australia at the time.
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