Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva has named his cabinet ministers for the next four years this afternoon.
Newly elected independent MP Siaosi Sovaleni has been chosen as Deputy Prime Minister.
The release of the new cabinet line up came amid public speculating who in the independent bloc and the nobility voted for ʻAkilisi in the secret ballots on Monday in a Special Parliamentary Meeting to elect the Prime Minister.
Spokesperson Dr. Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa said it was difficult for the Democratic Party to say who voted for ʻAkilisi in the premiership election.
“I cannot say who voted for ‘Akilisi because it was a secret ballot. But you can tell it from the names of those who have been elected to become ministers because that was what we agreed to with those independent MPs and I trust that ‘Akilisi will keep to his promise,” Hon Dr. Tu’i’onetoa told Kaniva News this afternoon before PM Pōhiva announced his cabinet ministers.
The new cabinet lineup shows that five elected independents might have voted for ‘Akilisi. They were MP Siaosi Sovaleni (Tongatapu 3), MP Poasi Tei (Tongatapu 7), MP Sōsefo Fe’ao Vakatā (Niua 17), MP Saia Piukala (Vava’u 14), MP ‘Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu (Vava’u 16) and Lord Ma’afu.
Since PM Pōhiva and his Democratic Party already had 10 MPs in place before the election and he won the premiership by 15 votes it appeared the five MPs they needed so they could have the number to form the government may have come from the independent elected MPs only.
Lord Maʻafu could have been only elected as one of the cabinet ministers because Tongan constitution stipulates that a minister for Land and Survey portfolios must be from one of the king’s nobility.
- Hon. Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, Prime Minister and minister for:
- Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Education and Training
- Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister and minister for:
- Environment, Energy, Climate Change, Disaster, Management and Meteorology, Information and Communication
- Lord Maʻafu, minister for:
- Lands, Survey and Natural Resources
- Tonga Defense Services
- Hon. Dr Saia Maʻu Piukala, minister for:
- Hon. Dr Aisake Valu ‘Eke, minister for:
- National Planning
- Hon. Dr Pohiva Tuionetoa, minister for:
- Police, Fire Services and Prison
- Labour and Commerce
- Hon. Semisi Fakahau, minister for:
- Forestry, Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
- Hon. Sione Vuna Fāʻotusia, minister for:
- Justice and Law
- Hon. Etuate Sungalu Lavulavu, minister for:
- Hon. Sōsefo Feʻao Vakatā, minister for:
- Internal Affairs, Women, Culture, Youth
- Hon. Poasi Mataele Tei, minister for:
- Public Enterprises
- Hon. Tēvita Lavemaau, minister for:
- Revenue and Customs