The Tuvalu Prime Minister Willie Telavi denies the opposition's claim that he is trying to avoid a by-election for the vacant seat of Nukufetau for fear of losing his parliamentary majority.
The opposition is taking a case to the High Court to try to force the government to hold a by-election after the death of the Nukufetau MP, Lotoala Metia, in December.
Willie Telavi concedes that his majority does hang in the balance over the seat.
But he says it is important to first address ongoing issues related to the sacking of a number of officials on the atoll by the local council before a by-election proceeds.
"So I would like to have a free and fair by-election on this island, because there has been complications on this island after the formation of my government in 2010. I can call the election at any time, but I would like to see that on the island there is a reconciliation between the people because there is a division in the island."