29 Aug 2017

Tonga ready for election, says attorney general

8:52 am on 29 August 2017

Tonga's attorney general says the country is ready for an election, despite the polls coming a year early.

The Prime Minister's Office in Nuku'alofa

The Prime Minister's Office in Nuku'alofa Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

Tongans will head to the polls in November after the King's sudden decision to dissolve parliament, which is being seen as an effective vote of no confidence in the government of the Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

'Aminiasi Kefu said the country had the resources to arrange an election at short notice, and the sudden nature of this year's election should prove no impediment.

"I don't suspect there would be a lot of difficulty," he said..

"It's just a matter of appointing electoral officers and obviously the electoral commission is already on top of this and working to prepare for it.

"The question now is whether the candidates are willing to stand up to run for the election."

An election will have to be held before November 16.

Acting AG, Aminiasi Kefu.

Acting AG, Aminiasi Kefu. Photo: twitter

Mr Kefu said the country is ticking along as normal, despite last week's decision.

He said the prime minister and cabinet remained in a caretaker mode, and the public service would continue to function as normal.

However, he said the situation is testing.

"Oh it's groundbreaking, definitely, quite profound for a sleepy small island country but there's never a dull moment in Tonga and I'm just glad that the machinery of government continues.

"This is obviously a testing of the constitutional provision, this is the first time that his majesty has used his personal prerogative power to dissolve parliament."

He said the King's decision is final, and the constitution provided no right of appeal should Mr Pohiva feel aggrieved.

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