5 Jun 2007

Tonga's prime minister takes over portfolios left vacant by resignation

6:21 pm on 5 June 2007

Tonga's prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, is taking over the two portfolios left vacant by the resignation of Peauafi Haukinima.

The minister of Agriculture and Fisheries had been on leave following an arrest for drunkeness at a royal wedding but he was then reportedly asked to resign and subsequently did so.

Mr Haukinima was one of the first elected People's Representatives to be appointed to the cabinet by the late king.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says he doesn't think there will be another appointment in the short term.

"I think it is highly likely that they would wait until next year for the next election before they can appoint another minister for those substantial ministries. We're also being told by the prime minister that he now holds the portfolios of both agriculture and fisheries for the time being."

Mateni Tapueluelu.