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'Akilisi Pohiva, Tonga's new Prime Minister

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

‘Akilisi Pohiva with Samiu Vaipulu outside Parliament House, 29 December

‘Akilisi Pohiva was declared Tonga’s new Prime Minister this afternoon by the Interim Speaker of the Tongan Parliament Lord Tupou.

‘Akilisi won the Prime Ministerial election with a vote of 15-11 from the other nominee, Samiu Vaipulu (the former Deputy Prime Minister).

‘Akilisi becomes the first commoner to be elected as the Prime Minister of Tonga under Tonga’s new system of government that was introduced in 2010.

Following the election of the Prime Minister the House also elected the former Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano as the new Speaker of the Tongan Parliament, with Lord Tu’i’afitu (the former Minister of Health) as the Deputy Speaker.

Again the vote was 15-11 for the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.

The next big task for the elected Prime Minister is to select a Deputy Prime Minister and 12 Memembers of his Cabinet.

A new Tongan government should be in place by the New Year.