Tongan King Dissolves Parliament, Commands New Election

Decision marks the downfall of 'Akilisi Pohiva, the first commoner to be elected prime minister in 2014

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, August 25, 2017) – Tonga's King Tupou VI has dissolved the Tonga Legislative Assembly today with an instrument of dissolution Gazetted late this afternoon and posted on the Crown Law website. The king is commanding that a new election be held no later than 16 November 2017.

The acting Attorney General 'Aminiasi Kefu told Matangi Tonga that they received the Gazette notice this afternoon from the Palace Office

He said that the Tonga Government Gazette Supplement was published at around 4:30pm this afternoon on the Crown Law website.

The Instrument of Dissolution states:

"Instrument of Dissolution

We, Tupou VI, by the Grace of God, of Tonga, King:

Having Considered Advice from the Lord Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and

Having Regard to Clauses 38 and 77(2) of The Act of Constitution of Tonga (Cap. 2) Do lawfully dissolve the Legislative Aseembly with effect from Thursday 24 August 2017 at 1700 hours and Do Command that new representatives of the Nobles and People be elected to enter the Legislative Assembly at Elections to be held no later than 16 November 2017.

Done by Us at Nuku'alofa this Twenty Fourth day of August int he Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Seventeen and in this is the Sixth Year of Our Reign.

TUPOU VI"

--

Clause 38 of the Constitution of Tonga (Cap 2) sets out the King's relations with Parliament. While Clause 77covers the frequency of General Elections, and the King's power to dissolve parliament. (Amended in 2010):

Clause 38 

The King may convoke the Legislative Assembly at any time and may dissolve it at his pleasure and command that new representatives of the nobles and people be elected to enter the assembly. But it shall not be lawful for the Kingdom to remain without a meeting of the Assembly for a longer period than one year. The Assembly shall always meet at Nuku'alofa and at no other place except in time of war. (Law No. 1 of 1914.) Constitution 1988 edn.

Clause 77(2) General elections

  1. (1)  Elections shall ordinarily be held for all the representatives of the nobles and the people every four years, and if not earlier dissolved the Legislative Assembly shall stand dissolved at the expiration of four years from the date of the last general election.
  2. (2)  It shall be lawful for the King, at his pleasure, to dissolve the Legislative Assembly at any time and command that new elections be held.

(3)  If the Legislative Assembly is dissolved by the King or by the operation of sub-clause (1), the King shall, after consultation with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, fix a date for a general election. (2010)

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