Re-elected Tongan PM encouraged to unite Parliament

'Akilisi Pohiva was re-elected Prime Minister on Monday December 18, defeating his former deputy Siaosi Sovaleni by 14 votes to 12 in parliament. A New Zealand based Tongan academic says the new Pohiva administration will need to be more collegial if it wants to be successful. RNZ reports


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


However the Massey University Pasifika Centre director 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.


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


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


An early election was held five weeks ago after the sudden dissolution.


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


Listen to, and read the full transcript of, Dr Koloamatangi’s interview with RNZ’s Don Wiseman here.