16 Oct 2008

Tonga's prime minister upset his country's candidate lost backing for WHO post

8:17 am on 16 October 2008

The Prime Minister of Tonga says the withdrawal of backing for his country's candidate for a key post at the World Health Organisation undermines the traditions of Pacific countries supporting each other.

Dr Feleti Sevele says the tragic casualties of a vote in Manila in which Dr Viliame Tangi lost out to a South Korea candidate for the Western Pacific WHO Regional Director's post needs to be addressed.

Dr Tangi had been promised the support of Pacific Islands countries through a formal commitment at the Forum summit in Niue, but some Forum members switched their backing to the South Korean candidate.

Dr Sevele says the vote undermines the WHO election process, the integrity of the Pacific Forum Leaders' commitment, and the integrity of the historical Pacific mutual support and loyalty.