Pelenike Isaia

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Pelenike Tekinene Isaia
Minister for Home Affairs
In office
23 September 2011 – 2 August 2013
Prime Minister Willy Telavi
Preceded by Willy Telavi
Succeeded by Namoliki Sualiki
Member of the Tuvaluan Parliament
for Nui (serving with Taom Tanukale, then Leneuoti Matusi)
In office
24 August 2011 – 31 March 2015
Preceded by Isaia Italeli
Succeeded by Mackenzie Kiritome
Puakena Boreham
Personal details
Political party Independent

Pelenike Tekinene Isaia served in the Parliament of Tuvalu from 2011 to 2015. Before her election as an MP she worked for the Tuvalu Cooperative Society, as its branch manager in Nui.

Her career in national politics began when she won the August 2011 by-election for the constituency of Nui, and thus entered Parliament. The by-election had been caused by the death of her husband, the incumbent MP and Minister for Works Isaia Italeli. Pelenike Isaia stated she would aim to continue his work, and she was the candidate endorsed by Prime Minister Willy Telavi's government. Italeli's death had deprived the Telavi government of its one-seat majority in Parliament, and when Pelenike Isaia won the by-election, defeating the only other candidate (Leneuoti Maatusi) by a sixty-two vote majority, her victory secured parliamentary support for Telavi.[1][2] She was appointed Minister for Home Affairs.[3]

She was the second woman ever to have sat in Tuvalu's Parliament, following Naama Maheu Latasi, who was an MP for Nanumea from 1989 to 1997. Isaia's election put an end to Tuvalu being one of the few countries in the world having no female parliamentarians - although the Tuvaluan national Parliament admittedly consists in only fifteen members.[4]

She was also, at the time of her election, sister-in-law to the Governor-General, Iakoba Italeli, her late husband's elder brother.[5]

On 1 August 2013, her brother-in-law the Governor-General dismissed Prime Minister Willy Telavi in the context of a political crisis (Telavi had sought to govern without the support of Parliament). The following day, the rest of Cabinet, Isaia included, was voted out of office by parliament, as the opposition now had a clear majority following a by-election.[6]

Isaia was not re-elected to parliament in the Tuvaluan general election, 2015.[7] Isaia was succeeded as an MP for Nui by Dr Puakena Boreham who is the third woman appointed as a member to the parliament.[8]


  1. ^ "Samoa police rule out foul play in death of Tuvalu minister". Radio New Zealand International. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Tuvalu PM to remain in power", ABC Radio Australia (audio), 25 August 2011
  3. ^ "Composition du gouvernement des îles Tuvalu", French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, 23 September 2011
  4. ^ "Women Need Support to Overcome Barriers Entering Parliament", Solomon Times, 11 May 2010
  5. ^ Tuvalu: 2010 general election, Inter-Parliamentary Union
  6. ^ "Tuvalu opposition votes out government", Radio New Zealand International, 2 August 2013
  7. ^ "Election looks set to return Sopoaga as Tuvalu's PM". Radio New Zealand. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Cabinet position could await new Tuvalu MP". Radio New Zealand. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.