The Legislative Assembly has a new Speaker of Parliament.
He is the Member of Parliament for Aana Alofi No. 1, Leaupepe Toleafoa Apulu Fa’afisi.
In the next five years, he will work closely with the Deputy Speaker and the new M.P. for Gagaemauga No, 3, Nafo’itoa Talaimanu Keti.
Confirmed by the former Speaker, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao, the appointments were made during an H.R.P.P caucus meeting held at the government building yesterday.
During the meeting, La’auli indicated to the caucus that he wanted to continue.
But he also extended an invitation for anyone else who wanted to take over the role.
“What I wanted was a consensus decision on the position just like how I became the Speaker without any votes,” La’auli said.
“But I had also opened the floor for anyone who wanted to become the Speaker. It was then Tole’afoa expressed that this could be his last time (in Parliament) and he would like to (be the Speaker).
“I thought about it and even though I wanted to continue my duty as there is a lot of pending works (in the Legislative Assembly) I gave him my support and respect.”
La’auli assured that Parliament is in good hands, given that Leaupepe is former Speaker.
“I am confident that he can do the job and he is capable,” said La’auli. “He was in Parliament with my father (the late Polataivao Fosi Schmidt) and I believe that my time will come.
“At the moment, I’m ready to take any other work that the government has for me.”
As for the role of Deputy Speaker, the M.P for Falealili East, Fuimaono Te’o had expressed interest. The caucus, however, felt that it was not fair for both positions to be held by Tumua so the decision was made for Nafo’itoa to represent Pule Ono.
The appointments yesterday ended La’auli’s 10 years as Speaker of Parliament.
“I’m blessed that I’ve had that experience,” he said. “So wherever I am called (next), I’m up for it and my time will come.”
The 49-year-old said he feels privileged to have contributed to the development of the Legislative Assembly in the past 10 years. During that time, he said more 200 pieces of legislations were passed among many other achievements.
Leaupepe and Nafo’itoa were asked for a comment yesterday but they declined.
The appointment of a Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers were not discussed yesterday.