Iakoba Italeli

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His Excellency
Sir Iakoba Italeli
Iakoba Italeli May 2015.jpg
Governor-General of Tuvalu
Assumed office
16 April 2010
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia
Maatia Toafa
Willy Telavi
Enele Sopoaga
Preceded by Kamuta Latasi
Member of the Tuvaluan Parliament
for Nui
In office
3 August 2006 – 16 September 2010
Preceded by Taom Tanukale
Succeeded by Taom Tanukale
Attorney General of Tuvalu
In office
Preceded by Feleti Teo
Succeeded by Eselealofa Apinelu
Personal details
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Lady Italeli
Alma mater International Maritime Law Institute at the University of Malta

Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli, GCMG, is a Tuvaluan politician who is the current Governor-General of Tuvalu, having served in this role since on 16 April 2010.[1][2][3] He is also a former Attorney General of Tuvalu who served from 2002 to 2006.


Italeli is a graduated of International Maritime Law Institute at the University of Malta in 2001. He was appointed as acting Attorney General in 2002, a position he would keep until 2006. Italeli ran for public office for the first time in the Tuvaluan general election in 2006. He won the election, and became the representative of the Nui district in the Parliament of Tuvalu, a position he would keep for 4 more years.[4] He also served as the Minister of Education, Sports and Health, in the government of the Prime Minister, Apisai Ielemia.[4] He remained as minister until 2010 when he was appointed as governor-general.

He was appointed to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George as a Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) on 21 June 2010.

Constituency background[edit]

Italeli was elected to represent Nui in the Parliament of Tuvalu on a non-partisan basis; this lack of alignment is not unusual in the politics of Tuvalu; unusually for Tuvalu, Italeli represented a constituency where trilingualism is a feature, since many inhabitants of Nui originate from Kiribati, and thus speak Gilbertese, in addition to Tuvaluan and English, the fluency of which varies among local people.

His younger brother, Isaia Italeli, was elected to Parliament, also as MP for Nui, in the September 2010 general election, and subsequently became Speaker, then Minister for Works and Natural Resources.[5][6][7]


In 2013, Italeli faced a political crisis when Prime Minister Willy Telavi's government lost a crucial by-election on 28 June and thereby lost its majority in parliament. The opposition thereafter held a majority of seats (eight to seven) and immediately called for the Prime Minister to advise that parliament be reconvened.[8] Telavi responded that, under the constitution, parliament was required to convene only once a year and he was thus under no obligation to advise the Governor-General to summon it until December 2013.[9] The opposition turned to Italeli and, on 3 July, he exercised his reserve powers by summoning parliament, against the Prime Minister's wishes, on 30 July.[10] With only five members of the governing party and eight members of the opposition party in the legislature,[11] the Speaker of the Parliament, Kamuta Latasi, still refused to allow a vote of non-confidence and Taom Tanukale, a member of Telavi's party, resigned his seat in parliament, prompting Telavi to assert that no confidence vote should be held until a by-election was conducted in Tanukale's district, but without giving a date for such an election.[12] The opposition subsequently appealed again to the Governor-General,[12] who then, on 1 August, replaced Telavi with the former opposition leader Enele Sopoaga as prime minister and ordered that parliament sit until 2 August to allow for the vote of non-confidence regarding Telavi's government to take place.[13] On the same day, Telavi declared he had written to Elizabeth II, the Queen of Tuvalu, advising her to replace Italeli as governor general and that Italeli "had been fired".[14] The Queen gave no indication of her reaction to Telavi's letter, leaving Italeli's position secure.[13]

See also[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Kamuta Latasi
Governor General of Tuvalu


  1. ^ "HE Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli, GCMG". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  2. ^ "New Tuvaluan MPs get key cabinet portfolios", Pacific Islands News Association, 29 September 2010
  3. ^ Hassall, Graham (2006). "The Tuvalu General Election 2006". Democracy and Elections project, Governance Program, University of the South Pacific. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b Hassall, Graham (2006). "The Tuvalu General Election 2006". Democracy and Elections project, Governance Program, University of the South Pacific. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  5. ^ Cannon, Brian (16 September 2010). "Tuvalu Election Results". Tuvalu News. Tuvaluislands.com. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  6. ^ Tuvalu: 2010 general election, Inter-Parliamentary Union
  7. ^ Tuvalu: Cabinet Archived 28 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Central Intelligence Agency
  8. ^ "Tuvalu’s Opposition waiting to hear from GG" Archived 8 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Islands Business, 1 July 2013
  9. ^ "Parliament needs one yearly meeting only says defiant Tuvalu PM", Radio New Zealand International, 2 July 2013
  10. ^ "Tuvalu’s parliament convenes July 30" Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Islands Business, 3 July 2013
  11. ^ Matau, Robert (30 July 2013). "Tuvalu govt bombshells". Island Business. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  12. ^ a b Matau, Robert (1 August 2013). "GG appoints Sopoaga as Tuvalu's caretaker PM". Island Business. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Tuvalu government faces constitutional crisis". Australia Network News. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  14. ^ Cooney, Campbell (6 August 2013). "Confident Tuvalu PM voice for climate change". ABC. Retrieved 8 August 2013.

External links[edit]