by Hera Hoi – EM TV Online
Tongan’s democratic Member of Parliament, Akilisi Pohiva was announced as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga on December 29th 2015, winning with 15 votes to 11.
According to Stuff, the 73-year-old defeated Samiu Vaipulu, who is now the speaker, to become Tonga’s first ever democratically elected commoner premier.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill released a statement yesterday, extending his sincere congratulations to the newly-elected Prime Minister.
“On behalf of the government and people of Papua New Guinea, I wish to take this opportunity to sincerely congratulate you on your recent election as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga.
“Your ascension to the position of Prime Minister is a milestone for your country and the Pacific region. Your election is also a demonstration of the value and importance of the noble principles of democracy,” Mr O’Neill stated.
Prime Minister O’Neill also stated that while PNG and Tonga continue to enjoy a close and friendly relationship, it is his intention to work closely with Tonga’s new Prime Minister to further strengthen ties. He added that these would be in the areas of trade and investment and agriculture and fisheries, as well as cultural, educational and sporting exchanges.
“I further look forward to welcoming you and your delegation in 2015 when Papua New Guinea hosts the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby.
“Congratulations once again and God bless your administration and the Kingdom of Tonga,” said O’Neill.