Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu (since Aug 1, 2013)
Enele Sosene Sopoaga (born 10 February 1956) is a Tuvaluan diplomat and politician who has been Prime Minister of Tuvalu since 2013.
Sopoaga was elected to Parliament in the 2010 general election. He served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Environment and Labour in Prime Minister Maatia Toafa’s short-lived government from September to December 2010. Following an unsuccessful bid for the premiership in December 2010 (with Toafa’s support), he became leader of the Opposition to Prime Minister Willy Telavi’s government. He became caretaker Prime Minister on 1 August 2013 following Telavi’s removal by the Governor General, in the context of a political crisis. A day later, on 2 August 2013, the opposition successfully voted out Telavi’s government in a no confidence vote. Following this, a ballot was held to elect the new prime minister of Tuvalu and Sopoaga won with 8 votes to 4. He was sworn in on 5 August 2013, and created his ministry the same day.
Following the 2015 general election, Enele Sopoaga was sworn in as prime minister on 10 April. Enele Sopoaga said his administration will focus on working to make Tuvalu less vulnerable to climate change and global economic forces.
Sopoaga received a Certificate in Diplomatic Studies from Oxford University in 1990, and a Master’s degree from the University of Sussex. Sopoaga and his wife, Salilo Enele, have three children.
He is the younger brother of Saufatu Sopoaga, who was Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004.
Apisai Ielemia, Former Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Apisai Ielemia is a political figure from the Pacific nation of Tuvalu. He has been Prime Minister of Tuvalu since 2006.
Ielemia was elected to serve in the Parliament of Tuvalu by the constituency of Vaitupu on a non-partisan basis: his lack of alignment is not unusual in the politics of Tuvalu, since political parties have not emerged in the country.In general elections held on August 3, 2006 prime minister Maatia Toafa’s government was defeated and opposition MP Ielemia was approved by the new parliament on August 14 to become the new prime minister. He also became foreign minister.
Ielemia has continued Tuvalu’s pursuit of close relations with Republic of China, and in December 2007 visited that country, when various bilateral issued were addressed.
In a country which had in recent years seen frequent changes of government through the use of the Parliamentary no confidence device, Ielemia’s government, in office since 2006, seemed at the beginning of 2009 to offer somewhat of a rarity: the prospect of a government of Tuvalu running somewhat of its full course. Prior to Ielemia’s appointment as Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the average length of Prime Ministerial terms of office had been cosiderably shorter; this experience served as an indicator of the relative stability of his government, and by extension, the underlying parliamentary system which supported it.
Maatia Toafa, Former Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Maatia Toafa (1954) was the ninth Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Tuvalu. He was deputy Prime Minister when on August 27, 2004, he became Acting Prime Minister when Prime Minister Saufatu Sopoanga resigned from Parliament after his government was deposed in a no confidence vote. He was confirmed as Prime Minister on October 11, 2004, when Sopoanga was reelected to Parliament and Parliament reconvened to elect a new Prime Minister. Like all Tuvalu Prime Ministers, he also became Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the August 2006 parliamentary elections, Toafa was reelected to Parliament, but all of the members of his cabinet were defeated. On August 14 2006 he was succeeded by Apisai Ielemia.