PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
Tuvalu Begins Process Towards a Referendum on Whether to Become
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (August 9, 2002 Ė Radio New Zealand
International)---Tuvaluís new Prime Minister Saufatu Sopoaga says steps
are being taken to conduct a referendum on whether Tuvalu should become a
He said informational radio programs on the matter will be broadcast ahead
of nationwide consultations in September and a referendum scheduled for
the end of the year.
Mr. Sopoaga said such a vote is necessary because of political
instability, which has seen four prime minister in the last four years.
He said as a republic, Tuvalu would be assured of stability, because the
people and not Parliament would choose the nationís leader.
"The prime minister in our current system is being elected by Members of
Parliament. If there is a change to giving this authority to the whole
country to elect the leader, there could be control.
"With this exercise, there is no intention to go out of the Commonwealth,"
Prime Minister Sopoaga said.