Siaosi Sovaleni who is also known by his chiefly title Hu’akavameiliku has been officially appointed prime minister of Tonga today by King Tupou VI.
He replaces Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa who withdrew his candidacy for premiership vote last month.
The King was in ‘Eua when parliament elected Hu’akavameiliku Prime Minister.
He returned to Tongatapu last week, and made the official assignment today at the royal palace in Nuku’alofa.
Hu’akavameiliku worked as a public servant for Tonga’s Ministry of Finance from 1996 to 2010, before working for the Pacific Community and Asian Development Bank. He returned to Tonga in 2013 to work as the Chief Executive in the Ministry of Public Enterprises.
He was first elected to parliament in 2014 and appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Environment and Communications in the Cabinet of ʻAkilisi Pōhiva.
He was sacked in 2017 after he was accused of trying to undermine the government, something he vehemently denied.
He was later re-elected to parliament in 2017 and subsequently contested the premiership with ‘Akilisi, but was defeated by 12 votes to 14.
Following the death of ʻAkilisi, Hu’akavameiliku supported Tuʻiʻonetoa for Prime Minister and was appointed as Minister for Education and Training.
His cabinet ministers are expected to be given royal confirmation in the coming days.