MP for Tongatapu 10 Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa will challenge Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika for the premiership, reliable sources have told Kaniva news.
Kaniva news understands that three other Democratic MP and cabinet members have defected.
They have been named as Minister of Justice Vuna Fa’otusia, MP Vatau Hui and outgoing minister MP Akosita Lavulavu.
The challenge against Hon. Sika, who the late Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva wanted to succeed him, will be confirmed tomorrow when the Speaker opens the envelopes with the names of the candidates.
A press release from the Speaker of the House suggested there would be two candidates.
A special meeting has been called for tomorrow at 10am to elect the Prime Minister.
The Speaker of the House, Lord Fakafanua called for nominations following the death of Hon. Pohiva.
Nominations for the election closed at 4.30pm today.
Police Minister Mateni Tapueluelu told Kaniva news earlier this week the Democrats did not have the numbers in the election for Prime Minister.
However, yesterday he and the remaining PTOA (Democrat) cabinet ministers and MPs were negotiating with some noble MPs and Independent MPs to vote with them.
Lord Ma’afu was a cabinet minister and it is believed he has stayed loyal to Hon. Sika and would help in the negotiations to persuade the nobles to vote for him.
Asked why did not they support Hon. Tu’i’onetoa to block the nobility and royalist MPs from having a greater voice in running the government, Hon. Tapueluelu said his preference was to stand together with the loyal PTOA members who were familiar with the Party’s vision.
It is understood that eight members of the nobility and the three independent MPs have tried to woo some Democrat MPs with promises of ministerial positions if they vote for another candidate.
The main points
- MP for Tongatapu 10 Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa will challenge Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika for the premiership, reliable sources have told Kaniva news.
- Kaniva news understands that four Democratic MP and cabinet members have defected.
For more information
Squabbling MPs mean Democrats no longer have the numbers warns Minister as royalists and Nobles battle to regain premiership