His Majesty King Tupou VI appoints new Prime Minister
HM King Tupou VI this morning, 28 December, presented Tonga’s newly elected Prime Minister, Hon. Siaosi ‘Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni (51) with a Royal Warrant of Appointment at the Royal Palace in Nuku'alofa.
Hon. Sovaleni was elected as Designate Prime Minister by 16 members of the 26-members parliament in a secret ballot on 15 Dec. 2021, following Tonga's November General Election.
He will hold the office of Prime Minister for four years. He is the 18th Prime Minister of Tonga.
King Tupou VI signed the Royal Warrant of Appointment yesterday, 27 Dec., stating:
“So I want to inform you . . . that I am under a happy heart, would like to appoint you as the Prime Minister, according to the proposal that has been presented to me from the Legislative Assembly.
“Starting your appointment from the 27th December 2021, you will have all the authority and the privileges of this position....
“I believe that you have with full heart accepted this appointment and with full commitment to fulfil your responsibilities for the sake of the country and the government, as it has been done in the past. Therefore we will have to be inline with the law and the Constitution of Tonga,” stated the King.
The ceremony was brief with no formal speeches.
Meanwhile, the King has approved a new 12-member Cabinet and two Governors for Vava'u and Ha'apai, and the Warrants of Appointment were read and returned to the Legislative Assembly this afternoon. The names of the new government ministers are expected to be announced by the new Prime Minister soon.
Hon. Sovaleni starts his first term as Prime Minister and is expected to name his new Cabinet Ministers soon. The list of names of the new government will be presented to the King for their official appointment.
Hon. Sovaleni was elected to parliament as the People's Representative for Ngele'ia in Nuku'alofa, and was a Member of Cabinet in the government under the former Prime Minister Hon. Rev. Dr Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa.
He has a Bachelor of Science and Computers Science, minor (Mathematics) attained from the University of Auckland, and a Master of Science in Computation from the University of Oxford in England.
He attained a Postgraduate Diploma for Managers requiring Advanced Analytic Skills and Master of Business Administration from University of the South Pacific.
He was first elected to parliament in November 2014 general election, and was Deputy Prime Minister from 2014-17. He became Minister for Environment and Communication from 2015-17, and most recently served as the Minister for Education and Training.
Hon. Sovaleni's wife, and family attended the presentation at the Palace.