List of by-elections in Tuvalu

This is a list of by-elections to the Parliament of Tuvalu since the First Parliament in 1977, with the names of the incumbent and victor. There are no political parties in Tuvalu, but some by-elections enhanced or reduced a government's parliamentary majority.[1][2] Where seats changed between factions at the election, the result is highlighted: light grey for a pro-government gain, dark grey for an opposition gain.

The information for this article dates from 1997 onwards. Information on earlier by-elections is not presently available.

First Parliament (1977-1981)

No information known at present.

Second Parliament (1981-1985)

No information known at present.

Third Parliament (1985-1989)

No information known at present.

Fourth Parliament (1989-1993)

No information known at present.

Fifth Parliament (1993)

No information known at present.

Sixth Parliament (1993-1998)

Information incomplete. No known by-elections in 1997 or 1998.

Seventh Parliament (1998-2002)

Information incomplete. No known by-elections in 1998 or 1992.

Eighth Parliament (2002-2006)

Nanumea 5 May 2003 Sio Patiale Sio Patiale Procedural flaw in the initial election[3] Government retains crucial seat
Niutao 5 May 2003 Saloa Tauia Tavau Teii Death[2][3] Opposition gain from Speaker threatens to deprive government of a majority
Nukufetau 10 October 2003 Faimalaga Luka Elisala Pita Appointment as Governor General[4] Gain provides government with the necessary majority to retain power
Nukufetau 7 October 2004 Saufatu Sopoanga Saufatu Sopoanga Prime Minister's resignation following motion of no confidence[5] Saufatu Sopoanga is re-elected and becomes Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Works Transport and Communication in the government led by Maatia Toafa[6]
Nanumea 15 June 2005 Sio Patiale Kokea Malua Ill-health[7] Malua won by a margin of 59 votes.[8]
Nui 1 June 2005 Amasone Kilei Taom Tanukale Death[7] Government increases majority
Nanumaga August 2005 Namoto Kelisiano Halo Tuavai As a professional engineer, Kelisiano resigned "in order to run Nanumaga's power plant at the request of his home community"[7] Government increases majority

Ninth Parliament (2006-2010)

No known by-elections.

Tenth Parliament (2010-2015)

Nui 24 August 2011 Isaia Italeli Pelenike Isaia Death[9] Government retains crucial seat
Nukufetau 28 June 2013 Lotoala Metia Elisala Pita Death[10] Opposition obtains a one-seat majority in Parliament.
Nui 10 September 2013 Taom Tanukale Leneuoti Maatusi Resignation[11] New Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga's government majority increases.
Nanumaga 14 January 2014 Falesa Pitoi Otinielu Tausi[12] Seat declared vacant by the Governor-General due to the ill health of Dr. Falesa Pitoi.[13] The Sopoaga government obtains a two thirds majority in Parliament.
Nanumea 19 September 2014 Willy Telavi Satini Manuella Incumbent retires from politics, a year after having been ousted as Prime Minister.[14] Government increases its majority.

In the 2011 Nui by-election Pelenike Isaia, the widow of Isaia Italeli who had died in July 2011,[15] was elected by the constituency of Nui. Pelenike Isaia becoming the second woman to enter the Parliament of Tuvalu.[16] Although there are no political parties in Tuvalu, Members of Parliament align themselves with the government or with the opposition, and Italeli's death had resulted in prime minister Willy Telavi's government losing its one-seat majority in parliament.[16] The by-election was thus highly important to the government's survival.[17]

The 2013 Nukufetau by-election was due to the death of finance minister Lotoala Metia in December 2012. The government delayed the by-election for six months, despite protests from the Opposition. When the Chief Justice of the High Court of Tuvalu ordered that it be held, it was won comfortably by opposition candidate Elisala Pita.[18]

A constitution crisis developed as Willy Telavi refused to re-call parliament as he argued that the Constitution of Tuvalu only required parliament to be summonsed once a year and so that he had until December 2013 to call parliament. The governor-general Iakoba Italeli then proceeded to exercise his reserve powers to order Mr Telavi's removal and the appointment of Enele Sopoaga as interim prime minister.[19] The Governor General also ordered that Parliament sit on Friday 2 August to allow a vote of no-confidence in Mr Telavi and his government.[20] Telavi then proceeding to write to Queen Elizabeth II (as the head of state of Tuvalu) informing her that he was dismissing Mr Italeli from his position as governor-general.[19]

On Friday 2 August Willy Tevali faced a motion of no confidence, the voting was eight for the motion, four against and one abstention - the speaker abstained from voting on the motion.[21] On Sunday 4 August the parliament elected Enele Sopoaga as prime minister;[22]

During the parliamentary crisis Taom Tanukale, the health minister, resigned from parliament (and thus also from the government).[23][24] The 2013 Nui by-election was held on 10 September. The government of Enele Sopoaga had a majority of two going into the by-election.[25] Leneuoti Maatusi was declared the winner, polling 297 of the 778 registered voters. Maatusi has been a civil servant and served as the Secretary of the Nui Falekaupule. He beat Palemene Anelu, a recent graduate of the University of the South Pacific, who received 206 votes and Taom Tanukale, the sitting member, whose resignation from parliament caused the by-election, who received 160 votes.[26] After the by-election Leneuoti Maatusi committed to support prime minister Enele Sopoaga.[27]

The 2014 Nanumaga by-election was called because Falesa Pitoi had been unable to attend parliament due to illness.[28] In late 2013, following an assessment of Pitoi’s health, the governor-general declared a vacancy for the constituency of Nanumaga in accordance with Section 99 (2) of the Tuvalu Constitution.[29] The polling date for the by-election occurred on a 14 January 2014 and the candidates were Halo Tuavai, Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi and Pai Teatu.[30][31] Otinielu Tausi was the successful candidate.[12] Tausi supported Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, which gave the government a two-thirds majority of the members of parliament.[32]

The 2014 Nanumea by-election was called following the resignation of Willy Telavi in August. The voting occurred on 19 September 2014.[33] The candidates were Satini Manuella and Hilia Vavae. Satini Manuella was the successful candidate. The former USP senior accountant and president of the Tuvalu National Private Sector Organization (TNPSO) joined the government benches, supporting prime minister Sopoaga.[34]

Eleventh Parliament (2015-)

Vaitupu 19 July 2017 Apisai Ielemia Isaia Vaipuna Taape[35] On 5 October 2016, Apisai Ielemia was determined by the High Court of Tuvalu not to be qualified to be a member of Parliament.[36] Government increases majority
Funafuti 20 November 2018 Sir Kamuta Latasi Simon Kofe Sir Kamuta Latasi resigned as MP on 17 October 2018.[37] Opposition retains seat.[38]

Apisai Ielemia was elected to represent Vaitupu in the 2015 general election. On 5 October 2016 Chief Justice Sweeney of the High Court of Tuvalu declared that Ielemia’s parliamentary seat was vacant as he was not qualified to be a member of Parliament.[39] This was due to the short time the opposition MP had served time in jail following his conviction on 6 May 2016 in the Magistrate’s Court on charges of abuse of office during the final year of his term as Prime Minister (August 2006 to September 2010).[36] The by-election was won by pro-government candidate Isaia Vaipuna Taape.[35] Taape was sworn in as a member of parliament for Vaitupu on Wednesday 16 August 2017.[40]


  1. Hassall, Graham (2006). "The Tuvalu General Election 2006". Democracy and Elections project, Governance Program, University of the South Pacific. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  2. Paulson Panapa & Jon Fraenkel (2008). "The Loneliness of the Pro-Government Backbencher and the Precariousness of Simple Majority Rule in Tuvalu" (PDF). Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  3. "Government Fate Hangs on by-election", Radio Australia, 6 May 2003
  4. "New Member of Parliament in Tuvalu", Radio Australia, 13 October 2003
  5. "By-election puts former Tuvalu PM back in parliament", Radio Australia, 11 October 2004
  6. "Palamene o Tuvalu (Parliament of Tuvalu)". Inter-Parliamentary Union. 2006. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  7. Taafaki, Tauaasa (2007). "Polynesia in Review: Issues and Events, 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, Tuvalu". The Contemporary Pacific. 19 (1): 276–286. doi:10.1353/cp.2007.0036. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  8. "Winner declared in Tuvalu by-election". Radio Australia. 15 June 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  9. "Tuvalu PM to remain in power", ABC Radio Australia (audio), 25 August 2011
  10. "Political future of Tuvalu’s PM awaits decision of by-election in Nukufetau" Archived 8 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Islands Business, 10 January 2013
  11. "Tuvalu govt bombshells". Islands Business. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  12. "Tuvalu by-election sees former speaker win seat". Radio New Zealand. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  13. "Tuvalu to hold by-election", Radio New Zealand International, 11 December 2013
  14. "Tuvalu to hold by-election after MP resignation", Radio Australia, 25 August 2014
  15. "Samoa police rule out foul play in death of Tuvalu minister". Radio New Zealand International. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  16. "Palamene o Tuvalu (Parliament of Tuvalu)". Inter-Parliamentary Union. 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  17. "Tuvalu Government set to retain power" Archived 17 July 2012 at, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 24 August 2011
  18. "Tuvalu’s Opposition waiting to hear from GG" Archived 8 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Islands Business, 1 July 2013
  19. AFP (2 August 2013). "Dismissal crisis rocks Tuvalu". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  20. Cooney, Campbell (1 August 2013). "Tuvalu government faces constitutional crisis". Australia News Network. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  21. Cooney, Campbell (4 August 2013). "Tuvalu parliament elects new prime minister". Australia News Network. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  22. Cooney, Campbell (5 August 2013). "Tuvalu Sopoaga elected new PM in Tuvalu". Radio Australia. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  23. "Tuvalu govt bombshells". Islands Business. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  24. Cooney, Campbell (31 July 2013). "Tuvalu speaker blocks no-confidence motion". Australia News Network. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  25. "Tuvalu voters toss out cabinet minister who forced a by-election". Radio New Zealand International. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  26. "New MP elected in Tuvalu". Islands Business from Radio Tuvalu. 11 September 2013. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
  27. "New Tuvalu Govt to release road map for first 100 days in power". Radio New Zealand International. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  28. "Enele Sopoaga Sworn-in Today as Tuvalu's New PM". Islands Business. 5 August 2013. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  29. "Tuvalu to hold by-election in Nanumaga". Radio New Zealand International. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  30. "Tuvalu by-election sees former speaker win seat". Islands Business - From RNZI/ FENUI NEWS/PACNEWS. 17 January 2014. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  31. Matau, Robert (January 2014). "New speaker for Tuvalu in the new year?". Islands Business. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  32. "Former Tuvalu Speaker joins government". Islands Business – From FENUI NEWS/PACNEWS. 22 January 2014. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  33. "Tuvalu to hold by-election after MP resignation". Radio Australia. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  34. Online Editor (22 September 2014). "New MP elected in Tuvalu". FENEUI NEWS/PACNEWS. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  35. "Legitimacy of Tuvalu by-election questioned". Radio New Zealand. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  36. Pareti, Samisoni. "Tuvalu demonstrate against top judge, former PM seeks re-election in Vaitupu seat". PINA/ISLANDS BUSINESS/PACNEWS. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  37. "Mr. Simon Kofe wins Funafuti bye-election". Fenui News. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  38. "Kofe, a true patriot", The Fiji Times, 4 September 2019
  39. Chief Justice Charles Sweeney (2 November 2016). "Attorney General v Apisai Ielemia" (PDF). CASE NO 5/16. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  40. "Honourable Isaia Vaipuna Taape sworn in". Fenui News. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2017.