Tuvaluan general election, 2010
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politics and government of
Voters elected fifteen members of the Parliament to a four-year term. All candidates were independents, as there are no political parties in the country. Ten out of the fifteen incumbent members were re-elected. The remaining five incumbents, including Deputy Prime Minister Tavau Teii, did not retain their seats. The incumbent Prime Minister, Apisai Ielemia, retained his seat in Vaitupu constituency. On 29 September, Maatia Toafa from Nanumea won eight of the fifteen votes to become Prime Minister.
Twenty-six candidates, including all sitting Members of Parliament, stood for the fifteen seats in Parliament. Tuvalu has "about 6,000 eligible voters" - a little over half the country's population.
Many candidates focused on climate change issues including Enele Sopoaga, a former Tuvalu Ambassador to the United Nations and Tuvalu’s representative at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen in 2009. Sopoaga stood for election in the Nukufetau constituency, and is reportedly considered a "national hero" for his diplomatic work at the Copenhagen Summit on climate change in December 2009. Enele Sopoaga was elected by the voters of Nukufetau.
Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia and Communications Minister Taukelina Finikaso, who are relatives, stood for election in the same Vaitupu constituency in the 2010 election. (The top two vote earners in Vaitupu are elected to parliament). Finikaso filed a complaint against Ielemia prior to the election, accusing the Prime Minister of distributing voter registration forms before the official registration date.
There were 6,008 registered voters in the election, and voter turnout was reportedly strong. Voting began at 8 a.m. and closed at 4 p.m. before counting commenced at the country's twelve polling stations.
Results by constituency
In total, ten MPs were re-elected, including Speaker Kamuta Latasi, while five incumbent MPs — including deputy Prime Minister Tavau Teii — lost their seats. The announcement that ten sitting MPs had been re-elected was made by Speaker Kamuta Latasi the following day.
Candidates in boldface were elected:
|Funafuti constituency results |
|Non-partisan||Samuelu P Teo||289||28.1%|
|Nanumaga constituency results |
|Nanumea constituency results |
|Niutao constituency results |
|Non-partisan||Sir Tomu Sione||235||18.3%|
|Non-partisan||Tavau Teii (incumbent Deputy P.M.)||218||17.0%|
|Nui constituency results|
|Nukufetau constituency results |
|Nukulaelae constituency results |
|Vaitupu constituency results |
Formation of new government
Speaker Latasi originally announced that all fifteen MPs will meet the following week to form a new government. However, the election of a new Prime Minister was not be held until 29 September 2010. Incumbent Apisai Ielemia, who became caretaker prime minister after the election, hoped to form a new government, though he ultimately did not have the support in the new parliament. Enele Sopoaga was reported as being a possible challenger for the premiership.
A secret ballot to determine the next prime minister was held on 29 September 2010. Maatia Toafa, who had served as Prime Minister from 2004 to 2006 and the Leader of the Opposition from 2006 to 2010, won the ballot to become Tuvalu's next prime minister with five new members and three members of the previous government. Toafa narrowly defeated Kausea Natano, who received seven votes in the ballot. Toafa took office on the day of his election and named his Cabinet almost immediately. He included a number of first time MPs who had supported his bid for the premiership - including Enele Sopoaga, who became Minister for Foreign Affairs. Isaia Taeia Italeli, the younger brother of Governor General Iakopa Taeia Italeli, became the speaker of parliament.
However on 15 December 2010, Prime Minister Maatia Toafa's government was ousted in a motion of no confidence, which followed Willie Telavi withdrawing his support for the government. On 25 December 2010 Willy Telavi was elected prime minister with an (8:7) majority in parliament that included the support of Enele Sopoaga. Kamuta Latasi, was appointed Speaker.
Minister of Works Isaia Italeli died suddenly in July 2011, which led to a by-election in the Nui constituency the following month. The election was won by his widow, Pelenike Isaia, who became only the second woman ever to have sat in the Tuvaluan Parliament. The by-election was described as "pivotal", as Italeli's death had deprived Prime Minister Willy Telavi of his government's one seat majority in Parliament. Pelenike Isaia's election restored the one seat majority, of the government of Willy Telavi.
Lotoala Metia, the MP for Nukufetau and Minister for Finance, died on 21 December 2012. The Nukufetau by-election, 2013 was held on 28 June. The Nukufetau by-election was won by the opposition candidate Elisala Pita. A constitutional crisis developed when Prime Minister Telavi responded that, under the Constitution, he was only required to convene Parliament once a year, and was thus under no obligation to summon it until December 2013. Tuvalu's opposition then requested the Governor-General Iakoba Italeli to intervene against the Prime Minister's decision. On 3 July, Italeli exercised his reserve powers in ordering Parliament to convene, against the Prime Minister's wishes, on 30 July. The government of Willy Telavi was dismissed on 2 August 2013 after a vote on a motion of no confidence and Enele Sopoaga was elected as Prime Minister.
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