31 Mar 2006

Sevele confirmed as Tongan PM

6:43 pm on 31 March 2006

Dr Feleti Sevele has been confimed as the new prime minister of Tonga after acting in the capacity since February 11th.

Dr Sevele says the appointment marks a new era in cooperation with the private sector, which will drive the economy.

Dr Sevele is the first commoner to be appointed a prime minister in the kingdom.

He has implemented a number of changes upon his appointment, including dropping all other portfolios and assigning three new public service commissioners.

Our correspondent in Tonga, Mateni Tapueluelu, says Dr Sevele has indicated he wants to focus on the government's economic reform programme.

"Feleti is trying to concentrate on public policy, particularly with regards to economic reform. You may be aware that he was the one that he was the one that signed Tonga formally to be a member of the WTO, the World Trade Organisation, some time ago and it is a sign that perhaps Feleti is setting his mind on foreign investement as a way out for economic downturn at the moment."