Leader ʻAkilisi Pōhiva calls on people to be patient

Democratic Party leader ‘Akilisi Pōhiva says he has high hopes that he and his Democratic Party will form the next government.

In an interview with Kaniva News yesterday he asked the people of Tonga to keep the peace while negotiations were in process to form a government that best for all Tongans. He did not say who the Party was talking to.

Pohiva’s response came after he was asked to comment on the independents’ claim they would not support a Prime Minister nominated by the Democratic Party.

The independents’ spokesperson, MP ‘Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu, told Kaniva News on Monday that if the Democrats would not support the election of an independent MP as Prime Minister, they would align themselves with the nobility to form up the government.

Lavulavu said the independents wanted the Democrats to come to them if they wanted to negotiate. He said the independents did not want to chase the Democrats around and do what they demanded. MP Lavulavu said that was not fair because the independents won the popular vote and the Democrats were a minority.

The MP for Vava’u 16’s revelation came a week after a joint meeting by the Democrats and independents that was applauded by people who commended their willingness to put aside their own political views and stand together to form a people led- government.

However, Lavulavu’s latest statements have prompted heated debates on social media. There have been mixed reactions from both supporters of the independents and the Democrats.

Some Democratic supporters blasted the independents, accusing them of being opportunists who wanted to be given the Premiership and Deputy Premiership before they would work together with the Democrats to form a government led by the people.

Independent supporters have retaliated by saying the independents were elected independently and were not bound to affiliate with a particular political group.

Public reaction

After talking to Democratic Party leader Pohiva, it appears that hopes for a coalition with the independents are increasingly uncertain.

“The only thing I can say now is that I still hope the Democratic Party will be able to form the next government without the full support of the independents,” Pohiva said.

He did not give details of what steps he was taking to make sure the Democrats would form the government, but said he would make a statement as soon as he could.

Pohiva said he understood the independents could have changed their minds after their initial meeting with the Democrats, but the door was still open for more discussions.

He said he was pressured by the concerns raised by his supporters to make sure the Democratic Party would lead the next government.

Pohiva said he wanted the people to understand he was working hard with his Party colleagues to make sure they would form the government.

He said that with 10 MPS, the Democrats were the majority group in the House.

In doubt

Two weeks from now the MPs will submit the nominations for the Prime Ministership, but the relationship between the Democrats and the independents has deteriorated and the hope for a further negotiations is gloomy.

The independents met with the nobles on Monday night, but spokesman Lavulavu declined to give any details, saying negotiation was continuing.

When asked to confirm whether their planned meeting with the independents continued last night Lavulavu denied that any such meeting had been planned.

When Kaniva News attempted to convince him that he was the one who told us on Sunday night from Vava’u that they would meet the nobility on Monday and then with the Democrats yesterday (Tuesday 9) he said the independents wanted a formal request from the Democrats through their spokesperson Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa.

Lavulavu said he had received e-mails from the Democratic Party inviting them to a meeting, but said the independents wanted the Democrats to come to them.

The independents’ spokesman said he had heard the Democrats had met with the people on Saturday at Vaolōloa. He said the independents had been invited, but none of them had turned up.

Lavulavu said the meeting was organised by people who were not MPs.

He claimed that after the meeting the Democratic Party decided they would approach the nobility about forming a new government.

Kaniva News was unable to confirm Lavulavu’s claim with the nobility or Democrats.

The main points

  • Democratic Party leader ‘Akilisi Pohiva says he has high hopes that he and his Democratic Party will form the next government.
  • In an interview with Kaniva News, he asked Tongans to remain peaceful while negotiations continued, but did not say who the party was talking to.
  • The independents’ spokesperson, MP ‘Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu, told Kaniva News on Monday that if the Democrats would not support the election of an independent MP as Prime Minister, they would align themselves with the nobility to form up the government.
  • Lavulavu’s statement came in the wake of a meeting with the Democrats which appeared to indicate they were willing to co-operate on the election of the Prime Minister.

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