Country Risk

Tongan king dissolves parliament and orders new elections, indicating likely withdrawal from the PACER Plus trade agreement

20 September 2017


Candidate registration will be held from 27–28 September for Tonga's 16 November general election, following King Tupou VI's dissolution of parliament effective from 24 August.

According to national media, Tupou's decision followed a meeting with parliamentary speaker Lord Tu'ivakano, who advised the king to dissolve the 26-seat Legislative Assembly due to concern that it would transfer the rights to approve legislation and appoint officials – including the police commissioner and attorney-general – from the monarch to the prime minister and cabinet. Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pōhiva, the first democratically elected premier and the first from outside Tonga's nobility, has also been criticised by the nobles for dismissing three cabinet ministers, for pulling out of hosting the Pacific Games in 2019, and for approving the development of canals and a golf course on the heritage site of Popua in the capital.

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