Independents and nobility nominate MP Samiu Vaipulu as Prime Minister

The seven elected independent MPs and nine elected nobles agreed in a meeting last night they would nominate MP Samiu Kiuta Vaipulu as Tonga’s next Prime Minister, Lord Vaea has confirmed this to Kaniva News this afternoon.

But he was cautious and said he understood negotiations were ongoing between the Democratic Party and the Independents and there was a possibility their premiership nomination could not stand when it comes to the election of the Prime Minister. Vaea said  the decision to nominate Hon. Vaipulu and to form a government led by the nobles and the independents, however,  was confirmed and they would hold on to it until the election day.

The meeting was attended by all members of elected nobles and the seven elected MPs, Vaea said.

He said the nobility since the nobles’ election results were announced two weeks ago nominated him as their nominee for the Prime Minister election and the nomination stood throughout five meetings they had until last night they all decided to support the nomination of Hon Vaipulu as Tonga’s next Prime Minister.

“We thought it was time for us to give the opportunity to lead the country to the people’s representatives and so we decided to support the nomination of  Samiu Vaipulu by the independents,” Vaea said.

He said all other ministerial posts including Deputy Prime Minister would be announced after the premiership election.

Lord Vaea was asked why they did not bring the Democratic Party to the negotiation table together with the independents if they believed it was about time to give the country’s leadership to the people’s elected MPs. In his response he said they sent negotiators from the nobility to the Democratic Party and based on information they returned with the elected nobles decided to just align themselves with the seven independent MPs.

When he was asked whether they knew complaints had been lodged against Hon Vaipulu  for alleged breaches of the election spending limit stipulated by the Electoral Acts, Vaea said the issue has been raised in the meeting last night but they were satisfied with the information they received from the Election Office regarding the complaints.

Leader ‘Akilisi Pōhiva

Democratic Leader ‘Akilisi Pōhiva said he was informed this morning about the decision made by the nobles and the independents to nominate Samiu Vaipulu as the Prime Minister but his Party was still negotiating with the independents.

He said he was optimistic and believed the nomination of MP Vaipulu to the premiership was not fully supported by the seven elected independents.

“It was just my feeling and personal view based on what I have heard when talking to some of the independents,” Pōhiva said.

The Democratic Party wants four more independent MPs so they can form the government.

If the nobles and the independent MPs nomination wins on election day Hon. Vaipulu, who was only elected by 747 voters of Vava’u 15 would become Tonga’s next Prime Minister.

The Democratic Leader said three representatives from the independents bloc were meeting with three representatives from the Democratic Party today at 2pm.

The independents’ reps were MP Samiu Vaipulu, MP Siaosi Sovaleni and MP Saia Piukala while the Democratic Party was represented by Leader Pohiva, MP Dr Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa and MP Semisi Fakahau.

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