28 Aug 2017

Tonga parliament dissolved, fresh elections called

From , 5:04 am on 28 August 2017

Tonga's King Tupou VI has dissolved parliament and called for fresh elections to be held by November the 16th.

The decision marks the downfall of 'Akilisi Pohiva, the first commoner to be elected prime minister.

Mr Pohiva, who for decades had campaigned for democracy, helped usher in changes in 2010 before becoming the first popularly elected prime minister in December 2014.

It is understood the Speaker, Lord Tu'ivakano, who is a former prime minister, approached the King about operating difficulties parliament was having.

A decision to dissolve parliament was then made by the Privy Council.

Publisher Kalafi Moala, who has been both an ally and a critic of Mr Pohiva, told Don Wiseman what he understands about the sudden announcement.

King of Tonga, Tupou VI, has been formally crowned.

King Tupou VI Photo: RNZI/Indira Moala