19 Dec 2017

Re-elected Tongan PM encouraged to unite parliament

7:37 pm on 19 December 2017

A New Zealand based Tongan academic says the new Pohiva administration will need to be more collegial if it wants to be successful.

'Akilisi Pohiva was re-elected Prime Minister on Monday, defeating his former deputy Siaosi Sovaleni by 14 votes to 12 in parliament.

'Akilisi Pohiva addresses Parliament before the Prime Ministerial ballot

'Akilisi Pohiva addresses Parliament before the Prime Ministerial ballot Photo: Legislative Assembly

The vote followed on from a comprehensive November election victory when his Democratic Party won 14 of the 17 general seats.

Massey University Pasifika Centre director Malakai Koloamatangi says Mr Pohiva now has a chance to unite the country after the August dissolution of parliament which was sparked by concerns that the government was acting unconstitutionally and trying remove some of the King's authority.

'Akilisi Pohiva

'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZ / Koro Vaka'uta

Dr Koloamatangi said Mr Pohiva will gain credibility with people outside of his support base if he manages to work with non-party members.

"You need actually a whole of government approach to things like the economy, climate change, good management, good governance and so on and so forth. You can't do that with a slim majority so you need to do that and I think if he did do that it would certainly add to his mana," said Dr Malakai Koloamatangi.

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