Tuvalu to name a new prime minister on Monday

By Thomson Reuters Feb 25, 2024 | 4:37 PM

By Kirsty Needham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Tuvalu on Monday morning will announce a new prime minister, who is expected to be elected unopposed by lawmakers in the Pacific Islands nation, an official said.

Feleti Teo, who was Tuvalu’s first attorney general and has decades of experience in fisheries – the region’s biggest revenue earner – has received unanimous support from the 16 lawmakers, two sources told Reuters on Monday.

“Only one nomination was submitted to the Governor General,” said a Tuvalu election official, Tufoua Panapa. He declined to name the nominee but said the Governor General would make an announcement after a formal vote by the lawmakers on Monday morning.

Teo was Tuvalu’s first attorney general, and has worked as a senior regional fisheries official for the past decade, as executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

One source said Teo has extensive experience.

The election result in Tuvalu had been delayed by three weeks as dangerous weather stopped boats from bringing new lawmakers to the capital to vote for prime minister, highlighting why climate change is the top political issue in the Pacific Islands nation.

Former Prime Minister Kausea Natano lost his seat in a general election on Jan. 26 closely watched by Taiwan, China, the United States and Australia, amid a geopolitical tussle for influence in the South Pacific.

Tuvalu is one of three remaining Pacific allies of Taiwan.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Reporting by Bill Berkrot)