Pacific Islands

New Tuvalu PM elected

February 26, 2024 2:27 pm

Feleti Teo [Source: New Straits Times]

Tuvalu on Monday announced former attorney general and fisheries official Feleti Teo as its new prime minister, after he was elected unopposed by lawmakers in the Pacific Islands nation, officials said.

Former Prime Minister Kausea Natano lost his seat in a general election on Jan. 26 closely watched by Taiwan, China, the U.S. and Australia, amid a geopolitical tussle for influence in the South Pacific.

Tuvalu, with a population of about 11,200 spread across nine islands, is one of three remaining Pacific allies of Taiwan, after Nauru cut ties last month and switched to Beijing, which had promised more development help.

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Teo received unanimous support from the 16 lawmakers, two lawmakers told Reuters on Monday.

Teo, who was educated in New Zealand and Australia, was Tuvalu’s first attorney general.

He has decades of experience as a senior official in the regional fisheries organisation and has worked with the Pacific Islands Forum, the region’s major political and economic group.

Fishing is a major source of revenue in the Pacific islands.