Feleti Teo is named Tuvalu’s new prime minister after elections that ousted Taiwan supporter


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tuvalu’s former attorney general Feleti Teo was named prime minister of the tiny South Pacific nation Monday after elections a month ago ousted the last government leader.

Teo was the only candidate nominated by his 15 lawmaker colleagues and Governor General Tofiga Vaevalu Falani declared him elected without a vote, government secretary Tufoua Panapa said in a statement.

The swearing-in ceremony for Teo and his Cabinet will be held later this week.

It was not immediately clear how the new government will affect China’s influence in the country of around 11,500 people half way between Australia and Hawaii.

The previous prime minister, Kausea Natano, and three of his eight ministers were not reelected in the Jan. 26 election.

Natano had wanted Tuvalu to remain one of only 12 countries that have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the self-governed democracy that China claims as its own territory.

Natano’s former finance minister Seve Paeniu, who was considered a leadership contender, had argued for Tuvalu’s relationships with both Beijing and Taiwan to be reviewed.

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