Tonga PM’s No-Confidence Motion Stresses Obligations To Country

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Tonga PM’s No-Confidence Motion Stresses Obligations To Country Appointment allegedly not representative of national interests

By Pesi Fonua

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 3, 2012) – The ten members of parliament who are calling for the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, to be removed signed their motion stating, "our hearts are wounded with love… for the Prime Minister and his Cabinet."

The Motion for a Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister that has been tabled to the Tongan Parliament last week has three parts: firstly, the document stated the right of members of the Tongan Parliament to present a Motion for a Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister; secondly, the motion outlined the members' allegations; and thirdly, the motion stated claims supporting the allegations.

The ten People's Representatives (PR) who signed the Motion were: Samuela 'Akilisi Pohiva, Semisi Sika, Sitiveni Halapua, 'Aisake Eke, Siosifa Tu'utafaiva, Sione Saulala, Sione Taione, Falisi Tupou, Semisi Tapueluelu and Mo'ale Finau.

They stated the right of members of the Tongan Parliament to present a Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister as outlined in the Constitution (Clause 50B, Clause 17 and Clause 41).

The ten PRs made the following allegations:

The final part of the Motion for a Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister made claims supporting the allegations.

They stated that a majority of the people had confirmed that they did not select the Cabinet, and they did not elect the PM, therefore the Cabinet that was elected by the PM could not say that they were democratically elected, particularly with the appointment of two ministers from outside, even though it is written in the constitution.

Therefore, they stated, that the people really wanted to be in control of the Cabinet, with the election of a Prime Minister from the People's Representatives, who were elected by the people.

The Motion stated that a party had twice proposed for the formation of a Cabinet of National Unity, for a government of good governance and a fair share of power. It was rejected, so therefore if they could not unite the country they would be blamed by the next generation for being careless.

The Motion stated that if the Cabinet made unconstitutional and illegal decisions, then it was the obligation of the Parliament to stop them.

"Because of unwise decisions that we have raised we feel obligated to the King, the Tonga Constitution and the Tonga Legislative Assembly, our oaths, and for the trust that the people have on us – we move for a Vote of No Confidence in accordance with Clause 50B of the Constitution, for the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano to be removed and for a new prime minister to be elected."

The Motion stated that the ten signatories would like to confirm that their motion was not because they wanted power and revenge, or wanted glory, big salaries, or jealousy.

Therefore they were forwarding this motion "with heartfelt respect to the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano."

"Our hearts are wounded with love, and utter respect to the Prime Minster and the members of his Cabinet; but we are strongly bounded to our oaths, and our obligation to uphold the constitution, and we are answerable to our country and the people who have trusted in us to carry out our duty unselfishly because of His Majesty our King, and for the well being of the people of Tonga."

The motion was presented to the Speaker on 18 June 2012 with a covering letter signed by 'Akilisi Pohiva.

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