28 Jun 2013

Long delayed Tuvalu by-election underway

11:57 am on 28 June 2013

A key by-election is being conducted in Tuvalu today, more than five months after the seat after the Nukufetau seat became vacant on the death of Lotoala Metia.

There are about 800 voters on the island, with two candidates contesting the seat.

An opposition MP, Taukelina Finikaso, says the outcome is crucial for the country because the parliament is split, with both camps having seven seats.

The prime minister, Willie Telavi, rejected criticism that the delay in holding the by-election was because he feared he would lose power.

He had put the delay down to the need to deal with issues concerning the wrongful dismissals of Nukufetau officials by the local council.

Polling finishes at 4pm and results are expected by mid-evening.