28 Nov 2006

Tonga PM's office chides Halapua for resignation call

5:09 pm on 28 November 2006

Lopeti Senituli, who advises the Tongan prime minister, claims that academic Dr Sitiveni Halapua is campaigning to have Dr Feleti Sevele removed because he is planning his own political career.

Dr Halapua has called for Dr Sevele to go because, he says, he failed to meet his constitutional obligations leading up to, and during, the riots two weeks ago.

Mr Senituli claims there are reports that Dr Halapua had been promised the prime ministership by some pro-democracy supporters in the event that Dr Sevele was deposed, or coerced to resign, as a result of the violence of 16 November.

He says he questions Dr Halapua's right, as the head of the Pacific Islands Development Program, to actively campaign for the resignation of a legitimately empowered prime minister.

Mr Senituli wants the governing body of the East West Centre in Hawaii, which oversees the PIDP, to investigate whether Dr Halapua is able to campaign in such a way.