The newly elected Tuvaluan government was forced to step down on Tuesday 21.12 and on Christmas eve we got a new Prime Minister!
The days before Christmas were filled with tension here on Tuvalu. Everybody had their ears on the radio trying to follow the two-day parliament marathon in the run up of 2010. This was also the first parliamentarian session for the newly elected government that entered into office in September.
The budget for 2011 was on the agenda, the deficit is around three millions Australian Dollars and this leads to huge discussions. Even through the economical situation is mostly due to the previous government (that has been in opposition since the election), the new government was forced to leave after just 2 months in power. Now, most of the old government is back. How can this happen?
Tuvalu’s Parliament consists of 15 members of parliament that is chosen in on an individual basis. The 15 representatives represent different islands. Based on the size, Tuvalu’s nine islands have one or two representatives each. After the election the newly elected representatives negotiate and form a coalition of eight people that get minister posts. The seven ”leftovers” form the opposition. This makes the government extremely vulnerable: it falls if one person decides to switch side. This is what happened last Tuesday, except that Willy (that also was the one crossing over after the last elections) was followed by two others from the island Nui.
This made it all much more exciting – who would now get into the back room to discuss a new government and minister posts?
As everywhere in the world, you get a whole lot of benefits when you enter the government offices of Tuvalu. Here, the benefits are that relatively good that the family also has to have a saying when times are changing. The negotiations must have been especially difficult, because the announcement of the new government was delayed, delayed and delayed.
The tension was finally released at 15:00 on Christmas eve. Willy came out as our new Prime Minister, still with the minister responsibility of Home Affairs. The rest of the government mainly consists of the old ministers from the government before the elections.
The new government entered into power today (29.12) after four days of holidays (when both 1st and 2nd day of Christmas are in the weekend, it is just fair with some compensation). Consequently, yesterday the roads were full of the resigning ministers on their last trip in their minister-four-by-fours (what are you doing with a four-by-four in a country with a maximum height difference of 4,5 m and zero ice?). Not only did they have to give up their cars, they also have to abandon their official houses!
So, for the wives and children and all other affected, lets hope that the government won’t change every second month from now on.