19 Dec 2017

Tongan PM's return to power no surprise - academic

From , 4:03 pm on 19 December 2017

'Akilisi Pohiva winning a second term as Tonga's prime minister was no surprise for academic Malakai Koloamatangi.

When parliament voted on Monday Mr Pohiva, with the backing of his 14 Democratic Party MPs, was elected over the only other candidate Siaosi Sovaleni, who got the backing of the nobles and the independent MPs.

An early election was held five weeks ago after the King had suddenly dissolved parliament in August.

He had taken exception to efforts by the previous Pohiva administration to push for more democracy in Tonga.

The nobility had protested that the government was seeking to control appointments that had been the preserve of the Privy Council.

During his first term Mr Pohiva was frequently at the centre of controversies but the party gained more traction in the election and the director of Massey University's Pasifika Centre, Dr Koloamatangi told Don Wiseman his returning as prime minister is no surprise.

 'Akilisi Pohiva

'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZ/Koro Vaka'uta