END OF ERA AS TONGA PARLIAMENT CLOSES WITHOUT KING

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November elections to usher in true democracy

NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 30, 2010) – Tonga’s Legislative Assembly will close today, September 30, for the last time under the current government [structure].

Baron Fielakepa, Noble Ma'afu and Noble Vaea will officiate the closure in the absence of King George Tupou IV.

The Chief Clerk of the House Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu said the three nobles would carry out a "soft closing ceremony", without the king or the usual fanfare of school children marching through the streets of Nuku'alofa.

The program is expected to begin at the Parliament House at 10:00am.

The Tongan people will go to the polls on November 25 to elect 17 representatives under a new system, under which Tonga has been divided into small constituencies. The Nobles will continue to choose their own nine representatives.

[PIR editor’s note: The Kingdom of Tonga remains the last monarchy in the Pacific region.]

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