Tonga PM Calls To Reject ‘Unconstitutional’ No-Confidence Motion

admin's picture

Opposition never detailed allegedly ‘illegal' decisions

By Pesi Fonua

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, July 24, 2012) – A Motion for a Vote of No Confidence against the Tongan Prime Minister and government was unconstitutional and should be rejected by the House, the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano stated in his response to the Tongan parliament yesterday, July 23.

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

The Prime Minister's response became the first task for a newly appointed young Speaker, Lord Fakafanua (27) yesterday.

A two-volume response by the Prime Minister to the Motion for a Vote of no Confidence was presented to the House, and the reading of the first volume was not completed before it closed for the day.

The House broke today, July 24, to allow members to attend the launching of the Tonga's first solar farm by HM King Tupou VI and the visiting New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Murray McCully.

Denied constitutional rights

The Prime Minister stated that he had been accused of infringing the constitution and for making illegal decisions, but he had not been informed what illegal decisions he had made, and which clauses of the constitution he had allegedly infringed.

"I am declared guilty, though I have not been told what I have done wrong," he stated.

He pointed out that under Clause 11 of the Constitution – Procedure on indictment – no one shall be tried or summoned to appear before any court or punished for failing to appear unless he had first received a written indictment.

Lord Tu'ivakano said that if he had not been told what crime he had committed, it was therefore not right for the House to deliberate over the Motion for the Vote of no Confidence.

He said that the onus was on the House to deal with the motion, but the motion was illegal because the House did not have under its Rules of Procedure and Standing Orders a process to deal with a Motion for a Vote of No Confidence on the Prime Minister.

Although Clause 50B of the constitution stated what would happen if the Legislative Assembly passed a motion described as a "Vote of no Confidence in the Prime Minister", it did not actually have a process in place for hearing such a motion.

The Prime Minister's response was in three parts. In Part One he denied the allegations that he had breached the constitution and had made some illegal decisions. In Part Two he outlined some of the development works that government had carried out during the past 18 months. In Part Three he pointed out the illegality of the Motion for the Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister, and the importance for the House to amend its Rules of Procedure to enable the House to process such motions.

The Prime Minister is expected to complete presenting his response when the House reopens tomorrow, Wednesday July 25.

'Eua Nobles by-election

Meanwhile, a by-election for a Nobles' Representative of 'Eua has been set for August 2.

The nobles who are eligible to stand for election for 'Eua are: 'Ahome'e, Ata, Fielakepa, Fohe, Kalaniuvalu, Lavaka, Ma'afu, Nuku, Tu'ivakano, Tungi, Vaea, Vaha'i, and Ve'ehala. The three life peers who have registered to vote for 'Eua are Lord Ramsay Robertson Dalgety, Lord Tevita Poasi Tupou and Lord Feleti Sevele.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that the House will defer its deliberation on the Motion for a Vote of No Confidence until after the by-election of the Nobles' Representatives for 'Eua.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment