27 May 2008

Tongan rejection of resignation calls by new party

5:51 pm on 27 May 2008

Tonga's minister of information says ministers are appointed by the King, and it is up to him to dismiss them.

The Langafonua Tu'uloa Party in Tonga is calling on the Prime Minister and three other cabinet ministers to step down, saying their appointment in 2005 by the late king, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, was meant to be no longer than the period for which they were elected to Parliament.

The Minister of information, Afu'ola Matoto, says the proclamation may have said that, but it isn't a matter of them simply resigning.

He says they were originally appointed for the term of their election

"But then these people had to resign their seats, in Parliament, and were appointed ministers in the normal manner in which ministers are being appointed by his majesty. Although they were to go the length of the parliamentary term, but at the same time, these people are subject the Kings prerogative."

He says the attorney general and minister of justice is currently looking at the issue.