Tuvalu's former prime minister stands by recent actions
Tuvalu's former prime minister stands by actions during last week's political ructions.
Tuvalu's former prime minster, Willy Telavi, says his government was not to blame for last week's political crisis and he continues to maintain the governor general had no right to remove him from office.
The legality of the move by the governor general, Sir Italeli Iakoba, is now being considered by the chief justice.
Mr Telavi says that, as he understands it, the governor general does not have the necessary reserve powers to justify this move.
The governor general had acted amid opposition claims Mr Telavi was frustrating the recall of parliament for a vote of no-confidence.
A successful vote of no-confidence was eventually held on Friday, and Enele Sopoaga became Tuvalu's new leader at the weekend. But Mr Telavi defends the way his government acted. He spoke to Don Wiseman.
WILLY TELAVI: We are required by a constitution to hold parliament within 12 months in Tuvalu, so we are within that time limit. Except that we have to accept the convening of parliament to test the balance of power, which we did.
DON WISEMAN: Well, reluctantly.
WT: We have to be careful about holding parliament only if we have issues to be taken up. But since there is no problem, the nation is OK...
DW: Now, there was a lot of political activity last week. I guess the key thing was this proclamation from the governor general that removed you from office. You say he had no power to do that.
WT: As a layman, as I read the constitution, there's nothing to empower the governor general to the reserve powers he was referring to. And he was also referring to a constitutional authority that he was relying upon. But there are no particular sections of the constitution that he referred to. You know that we had a problem with one of the islands, and they requested the intervention of the governor general whereby the governor says that he doesn't have any reserve powers to help his island. So that's what makes me surprised. Why didn't he mention that he got reserve powers this time, to remove me?
DW: So where will you go from here with this?
WT: Well, the thing has happened now. We've got a new government, so let it be.
DW: What if the high court finding is that the governor general had acted outside his authority?
WT: We are still waiting for the high court's decision on this.
DW: Do you have any expectation or hope that you might be reinstated?
WT: See, I already explained that in my reading of the constitution he doesn't have the power. So whatever the court says, I don't have any interest to see the outcome of the high court, because it's already out.
DW: You're not anticipating becoming prime minister again in the near future?
WT: No, we have to go by the law. So what the law says we'll go by. But right now I'm not going to anticipate going back to this position unless the court decides so.
DW: Now, you've said that being removed from office was something of a blessing for you.
WT: Yes. That's what I interpreted. That's how I interpreted the thing.
DW: How do you mean?
WT: Because I have now the chance to re-look into what the nation should be in the future. Let me have a break and let the nation be led by other leaders. I don't find any problem in this. I've been in government for seven years.
DW: You'd like a rest?
WT: That's right, yeah.
Former Tuvalu prime minister Willy Telavi claims the media misrepresented last week's events and could have compromised the country's reputation.
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