Dec 13, 2017 Last Updated 3:10 AM, Dec 12, 2017

TONGA goes to the poll on November 16 to elect their 17 People’s Representatives in the Legislative Assembly. That is 12 months earlier than planned, after His Majesty King Tupou VI dissolved parliament in September and ordered fresh elections.

When the Supervisor of Elections closed the registration of candidates in late September, a total of 86 people had confirmed their interests to run from the 17 different constituencies. That is 20 less than the 106 that stood in the 2014 elections.

Fifteen candidates are women, fighting to win seats in parliament. More than 57,000 people have registered and interestingly the field of candidates include some new high-profiled locals who had served either in the civil service, regional organisations or the private sector. That makes the battle for the parliamentary seats more exciting. The ‘Akilisi Pohiva led Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands have named 17 candidates to contest the election.

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

 

Crisis in the kingdom

TONGA’s political events in the past three weeks took the region by surprise. First it was His Majesty King Tupou VI who did the unprecedented and disssolved Parliament, with it also sending Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s government out. Having taken some advice from the Speaker of the Tonga Legislative Assembly, Lord Tu’ivakano, King Tupou VI became the first in the history of the Kingdom’s political life to use his powers under the Constitution to change a government and dissolve Parliament. Many Tongans, in Nuku’alofa and abroad, were shocked and caught unawares on August 24.

Even PM Pohiva said he was caught by surprise and did not know what happened until later in the day when the reality of it all finally sunk in. Lord Tu’ivakano, himself a former Prime Minister and a current Nobles’ representative in Parliament, later told the people of Tonga he had advised the King about certain issues that were causing uneasiness within Parliament and how the government of Akilisi Pohiva were dealing with them.

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

 
 

Friends no more

Tonga heads to the polls

AS a student at the University of the South Pacific, Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva decided to put an end to what he saw as the corrupt system of governance in his homeland – Tonga. The monarchy and King Tupou IV were at the root of all that was bad about the system which civil servants, members of the nobility and foreigners rorted for personal benefit.

Upon his return to the kingdom, Pohiva launched a series of sustained attacks on the monarchy and corrupt governance systems using national radio as his platform. In 2010, Fiji-educated Dr Feleti Sevele – later Lord Sevele of Vailahi – was appointed the first commoner prime minister of the kingdom by the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV. That appointment was largely caused by Pohiva’s agitation for change and the growing strength and anger of the pro-independence movement.

After the election of 2014, Pohiva became minister in 2014 – the first elected commoner to hold the position in 135 years. Today the freedom fighter-turned prime minister is a caretaker, effectively removed from office by a monarch who has found his head of government to be tiresome, bungling and increasingly unpopular. Two years ago it would have been impossible for the king to dismiss Parliament and the prime minister. 

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

Tonga eyes Apia route

Talks start on flight options

THE withdrawal of Samoa from a joint venture with Virgin Australia has sent regional airlines into a frenzy. In June, Real Tonga’s Deputy CEO, Fakatele Faletau, flew into Samoa to look at the possibility of scheduled flights between the Polynesian neighbours.

The move came just a week after Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilapea Sailele Malielegaoi, made public the region’s worst kept aviation secret – his country was fed up with its deal with Virgin. Faletau was coy when approached by Islands Business in Sydney to discuss his Samoa visit.

“We are looking at options, including an air service agreement with Samoa,” Faletau said. “It’s all part of doing business in the Pacific. We need to discuss issues which are important nationally and commercially.” If Real Tonga can secure flights into Samoa, the service will allow an optional link from Nuku’alofa connecting off Fiji Airways’ current route from Nadi to Fua’motu.

The benefit to Tonga will be that it can attract visitors to spend time in the kingdom before travelling on to Samoa or back to Fiji. Real Tonga will want to extract an agreement from Samoa based on the kingdom allowing Talofa Airlines to fly from Pago Pago to Vava’u, Nuku’alofa and Apia.

.....to read more buy your personal copy at

Quicktaem

PNA Advertorial 500x702

Advertise With Us

 

Advertise With Us

 

Interested in advertising with us? You can contact us at [email protected]

 

 

Find Us on Facebook