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There are 23 elected members in parliament

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Editor,

Please allow me a brief response to the challenge posed in your columns by MT Tuaileva “The Royal Spin”, 5 October) against the Hon Prime Minister’s public assertion that 23 out of the 32 members of the Legislative Assembly are elected members.

At the last Legislative Assembly elections in March 2005, the people elected 9 representatives and the Nobles also elected 9 representatives making a total of 18 elected members of the Legislative Assembly.

His Late Majesty then appointed Hon Tu’ivakano, Hon Nuku, Dr. Feleti Sevele and Peauafi Haukinima to Cabinet necessitating the by-elections that added 4 new elected members - Hon Lasike, Hon ‘Ahome’e (later replaced by Hon Vaha’i), Clive Edwards and Lepolo Taunisila - bringing the total to 22.

His Late Majesty then also appointed Fineasi Funaki to Cabinet necessitating the by-elections that saw the addition of’Osai Latu as the 23 elected member of the Legislative Assembly.

Faka’apa’apa atu.

Lopeti Senituli

Press Secretary / Political Adviser to the Prime Minister’