Nuku’alofa – September 26, 2019: 4pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Former Auditor General Dr Pohiva Tu’ionetoa is the new Prime Minister.
He was elected by Members of Parliament this afternoon with a margin of seven votes over then Acting Prime Minister Hon Semisi Sika.
Speaker of the House Lord Fakafanua read out the votes following advise of His Majesty King Tupou VI – with Hon Dr Tu’ionetoa securing 15 votes while Hon Sika got eight.
King Tupou VI is currently in New York for the UN General Assembly and had to be advised via internet.
Following his election Hon Dr Tu’ionetoa said he was honoured and grateful for the support he was given by the Nobles and People’s Representatives who backed him.
He called on MPs to work together in shaping Tonga’s future and taking the country forward.
At the same time he named Justice and Prisons Minister Hon Vuna Fa’otusia as his Deputy.
Two women have also been given Cabinet postings.
Former Minister for Internal Affairs and the government of the late Hon Akilisi Pohiva – Hon Akosita Lavulavu has returned as Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism while Dr ‘Amelia Afuha’amango Tu’ipolotu is the non-elected MP called in as Minister for Health.
Interestingly Hon Dr Tu’ionetoa, Hon Fa’otusia, Hon Lavulavu, Hon Poasi Tei and the Hon Vatau Hui of the two Niua’s crossed the floor and left the Democratic Party during the week to join forces with the Nobles and other independent Peoples’ Reps.
Former Deputy PM Hon Siaosi Sovaleni has also been recalled into Cabinet as Minister for Education while two Nobles have also been named in the lineup.
Here is the new Cabinet announced today:
1. Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Public Enterprises – Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa
2. Deputy PM and Minister for Justice and Prison – Vuna Fa’otusia
3. Minister for Finance – Tevita Lavemaau
4. Minister for Education – Siaosi Sovaleni
5. Minister for Health – Dr. ‘Amelia Afuha’amango Tu’ipulotu
6. Minister for MOI & Tourism – ‘Akosita Lavulavu
7. Minister for MEIDECC – Poasi Tei
8. Minisita Polisi – Nopele Nuku
9. Minister for Police/Fire Services – Samiu Vaipulu
10. Minister for MIA/Youth and Sports/Women – Vatau Hui
11. Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries – Noble Tu’ilakepa
12. Minister for Land/Survey/Natural Resurces and Security – Noble Maâ€™afu.