8 Jun 2005

Tuvalu leader says Patiale resignation in nation's interest

1:38 pm on 8 June 2005

The Tuvalu Prime Minister, Maatia Toafa, has spoken out after the resignation of one of his key allies, Sio Patiale, who is on dialysis treatment in New Zealand.

He said the resignation is in the "interest of the nation" despite the fact that he lost his slim majority in parliament.

Mr Toafa told journalists in Funafuti this week for the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting that the decision was also good for Mr Patiale, allowing him to concentrate on recovering his health.

He says he hopes that a by election in Mr Patiale's seat next week will return the government's majority.

Meanwhile, a by-election last week on the island of Nui was won by Taom Tanukale who is yet to declare whether he supports the opposition or government.