TARAWA, 04 NOVEMBER 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC)—The Kiribati government has lost its majority in Parliament for the first time in three years.

The opposition, which could use its numbers to call for fresh elections, has been strengthened by discontent over contentious relations with China.

The House of Assembly opened today for the first time since Kiribati ditched diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China in September.

But the government is on the back foot, holding just 20 of the 46 seats in Parliament.

The opposition Boutokaan te Koaua, or the BTK Party, has 13 seats.

And a new opposition party formed today, Kiribati Moa, or Kiribati First, holds another 13 seats.

Kiribati Moa is led by the former BTK Party chair, Kuria Banuera Berina. (PACNEWS)