ʻAkilisi Pōhiva

Samiuela ʻAkilisi Pōhiva (born 7 April 1941) is a Tongan pro-democracy activist and politician. Pohiva, the leader of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (DPFI), has served as the Prime Minister of Tonga since 2014. He is only the fourth commoner to serve as Prime Minister (after Shirley Baker in the 1880s, Siosateki Tonga in the 1890s and Feleti Sevele in the 2000s), and the first commoner to be elected to that position by Parliament rather than appointed by the King. On 25 August 2017 he was dismissed by the King along with the rest of parliament with fresh elections to be held on November 16, which his party won with enough seats to form government.[1][2]

ʻAkilisi Pōhiva
Akilisi Pohiva ITU 2016
15th Prime Minister of Tonga
Assumed office
30 December 2014
MonarchTupou VI
Preceded bySialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
20 January 2018
Preceded bySiaosi Sovaleni
Minister of Health
In office
4 January 2011 – 13 January 2011
Prime MinisterSialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō
Preceded byViliami Tangi
Succeeded by‘Uliti Uata
Personal details
Born7 April 1941 (age 77)
Political partyHuman Rights and Democracy Movement
(Before 2010)
Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (2010–present)
Spouse(s)Neomai Pohiva
Alma materUniversity of the South Pacific

Personal life

Pōhiva worked as a teacher and later studied at the University of the South Pacific before joining the Tongan Teacher Training Staff.[3] He became active in Tonga's pro-democracy movement in the late 1970s, and in the early 1980s contributed to their monthly radio programme, "Matalafo Laukai".[4] In 1984 he was dismissed from the civil service as punishment for his criticism of the government; he subsequently sued them successfully for unfair dismissal.[4] He then became assistant editor of the democracy movement's monthly newsletter, Kele'a.

'Akilisi Pōhiva is married to Neomai Pōhiva.

Political career

Pōhiva is the longest-serving people's representative in the Tongan Parliament, having first been elected in 1987.[5] His political career has been marked by constant battles with the Tongan monarchy over democracy, transparency and corruption. In 1996 he was imprisoned for contempt of Parliament on the order of the Legislative Assembly for reporting on Parliament's proceedings.[6] He was subsequently released after the Supreme Court ruled that the imprisonment was "unlawful and unconstitutional".[7] In 2002 he was charged with sedition over an article published in his newspaper Kele’a alleging the king had a secret fortune,[8] but was acquitted by a jury.[9]

On 18 January 2007 Pōhiva was arrested over his role in the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots.[7] He was subsequently charged with sedition.[10] In the 2008 election he was re-elected for an eighth term as the No 1 Tongatapu People's Representative with 11,290 votes.

In September 2010, he established the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands along with other Human Rights and Democracy Movement People's Representatives, in order to contest the 2010 elections.[11] He was elected as People's Representative, with 62.5% of the vote in the constituency Tongatapu 1.[12] His party secured twelve of the seventeen seats for People's Representatives (the other five going to independent candidates, while representatives of the nobility held an additional nine seats). He announced his intention to stand for the position of Prime Minister. Following constitutional reforms, this would be the first time the Prime Minister was elected by Parliament, rather than appointed by the monarch. The election for the premiership was held on 21 December, between Pōhiva and nobles' representative Lord Tuʻivakanō. Pōhiva obtained twelve votes, but was defeated by Tuʻivakanō, who was duly elected with fourteen.[13]

Following the election and selection of a Prime Minister he accepted a position in the new Cabinet, as Minister for Health.[14][15] On 13 January, however, he resigned from Cabinet, in protest against the inclusion in Cabinet of members from outside Parliament (to positions which he stated could have been entrusted to members of his party), and also to express his refusal to sign an agreement which would have prevented him from voting (in Parliament) against measures endorsed by Cabinet, based on the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility.[16][17][18] Although there is no formal Opposition, Pōhiva was, from then on, considered the de facto opposition leader.[19]

In December 2013, Parliamentarians for Global Action presented him with their annual Defender of Democracy Award, in recognition of his three and a half decades of campaigning for greater democracy in Tonga. He was the first Pacific Islander to receive the award.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Tora, Iliesa (2014-12-31). "Dawn of a New Era: Pohiva is the first elected commoner to be PM" (PDF). Tonga Daily News. Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  2. ^ "Tongan democracy activist becomes first commoner elected as PM". ABC News (Australia). 2014-12-29. Retrieved 2015-02-09.
  3. ^ Kit Withers. "Some Tongan Families: Aisea, Cocker, Pa'ongo, Pōhiva, Tauelangi, Vaioleti, Vaka, Vao". Retrieved 2010-01-17.
  4. ^ a b 'I. F. Helu (1982). "Democracy Bug Bites Tonga". In Crocombe, ron. Culture & Democracy in the South Pacific. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific. pp. 139–152. ISBN 982-02-0079-2.
  5. ^ According to his profile at the Tongan Parliament he had served 18 consecutive years when re-elected in 2005.
  6. ^ S ʻAkilisi Pōhiva, (2002). "Media, justice in Tonga" (PDF). Pacific Journalism Review. 8: 96–104.
  7. ^ a b Pro-democracy MP ʻAkilisi Pōhiva arrested, Pacific Media Watch, 18 January 2007
  8. ^ Tonga's king centre piece in sedition court case against politicians and journalists, Michael Field, 13 May 2002.
  9. ^ "MPs acquitted on sedition charges". The Age. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  10. ^ "Tongan pro-democracy leader released on bail, facing charges of sedition". Radio New Zealand International. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Another new political party emerges in Tonga as country prepares for 2010 elections". Radio New Zealand International. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  12. ^ Results for Tongatapu, Matangi Tonga, 26 November 2010
  13. ^ "Lord Tu'ivakano becomes new Tongan prime minister", BBC, 21 December 2010
  14. ^ "Tonga's prime minister names his cabinet". Radio New Zealand International. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  15. ^ "First meeting of Tonga's new Cabinet", Matangi Tonga, 5 January 2011
  16. ^ Field, Michael (14 January 2011). "Tonga's democracy campaigner quits". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Democratic Party head resigns as Tongan health minister", Australia Network News, 14 January 2011
  18. ^ "Tonga's PM accepts resignation of Akilisi Pōhiva from ministerial post". Radio New Zealand International. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Tonga leader unfazed by motion of no confidence", Radio New Zealand International, 20 June 2012
  20. ^ "Tonga’s Pōhiva says Defender of Democracy Award important", Radio New Zealand International, 17 December 2013

External links

  • [1] at Tongan Parliament.
Political offices
Preceded by
Sialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō
Prime Minister of Tonga
2014 in Tonga

The following lists events that happened during 2014 in Tonga.

2015 in Tonga

The following lists events that happened during 2015 in Tonga.

2017 Tongan general election

General elections were held in Tonga on 16 November 2017 to elect 17 of the 26 seats to the Legislative Assembly. King Tupou VI dissolved the Assembly on 25 August 2017 on the advice of its Speaker, Sialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō, who claimed that Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva was attempting to claim powers held by the King and Privy Council within Cabinet.Nominations closed on 27 September, with 86 candidates contesting the 17 people's seats. The election resulted in a victory for the DPFI, with ʻAkilisi Pōhiva remaining as Prime Minister.

2017 in Tonga

Events in the year 2017 in Tonga.

2018 in Tonga

Events in the year 2018 in Tonga.

2019 Pacific Games

The 2019 Pacific Games are scheduled to be the sixteenth edition of the Pacific Games. They will be held in Apia. These Games will see the return of the Pacific Games to Samoa since 2007, and the third overall to be held in Samoa.

The event was initially awarded to Nukuʻalofa, Tonga, but the Tongan government officially withdrew from hosting it in May 2017, amid concerns the country could face economic difficulties if it proceeded.These Games will see the introduction of an additional discipline for basketball, which is the 3x3 format, as well as the return of archery and badminton which were not on the 2015 Pacific Games program.

APEC Papua New Guinea 2018

APEC Papua New Guinea 2018 was the year-long hosting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Papua New Guinea.It was the first time Papua New Guinea is hosting the APEC meetings. Australia provided a quarter to a third of the cost to host the meetings and also helped with logistics and security (G4S). Three Cruise ships were chartered through an Australian company to cater to the some 10,000 delegates and guests.Many of the attendees and delegations had previously attended the 2018 East Asia Summit held from 11 November to 15 November in Singapore, hosted by the Chairperson Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore. Thereafter, many of the state leaders, including Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, flew from Singapore to Papua New Guinea.

International Dateline Hotel

The International Dateline Hotel is a hotel in Nukuʻalofa, the capital of Tonga, often used by guests of state. It was established in 1964 with 24 rooms by Janfull International Dateline Hotel Ltd., a joint venture between Tonga and China which according to Pacific Islands Report was the first entry by China into free-market Pacific tourism. The hotel was built to house visitors to the coronation of King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV and also marked the start of tourism to Tonga.It was renovated and expanded in 2001–2003 with a Chinese loan, adding a new wing and redeveloping the waterfront, and again with Chinese funding in 2006. This added 30 rooms and a convention centre whose main conference hall holds 400 people and was built for the 38th Pacific Islands Forum.Ownership was transferred to the government of Tonga in 2012 after the original hotel went into liquidation. Another renovation was begun in 2015 by the Tanoa Hotel Group with support from the government. The work was carried out by the Reddy Group. This preserved the original atmosphere of the public areas while modernising the rooms and added a pool bar, restaurant and spa area. It was reopened by King Tupou VI on 16 February 2017. The Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva said that "Such project contributes heavily to economic development." Later in 2017, the hotel hosted the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Tongan general election, 2017.The hotel has 126 rooms: 1 royal suite, 6 executive suites, 4 junior suites, 43 luxury rooms, 28 superior rooms, 44 standard rooms, and 10 family rooms.

List of Commonwealth heads of government

The Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOG) is the collective name for the government leaders of the nations with membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. They are invited to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings every two years, with most countries being represented by either their head of government or head of state.

List of ambassadors of China to Tonga

The Chinese ambassador in Nukuʻalofa is the official representative of the Government in Beijing to the Government of Tonga.

List of ambassadors of Tonga to China

The Tongan Ambassador in Beijing is the official representative of the Government in Nukualofa to the Government of China.

List of foreign ministers in 2015

This is a list of foreign ministers in 2015.

List of foreign ministers in 2016

This is a list of foreign ministers in 2016.

List of foreign ministers in 2017

This is a list of foreign ministers in 2017.

List of foreign ministers in 2018

This is a list of foreign ministers in 2018.

List of spouses of heads of government

The following is a list of spouses of current heads of government.

Minister of Foreign Affairs (Tonga)

This is a list of foreign ministers of Tonga.

1970–1979: Prince Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake

1979–1998: Crown Prince Tupoutoʻa (later King George Tupou V)

1998: Siaosi Tuʻihala ʻAlipate Vaea Tupou, Baron Vaea (acting)

1998–2004: Prince ʻUlukalala Lavaka Ata (later King Tupou VI)

2004–2009: Sonatane Tuʻa Taumoepeau-Tupou

2009–2010: Feleti Sevele

2011–2014: Siale ʻAtaongo Kaho, Lord Tuʻivakanō

2014–2017: ʻAkilisi Pōhiva

2017–2018: Siaosi Sovaleni

2018–present: ʻAkilisi Pōhiva

Prime Minister of Tonga

The Prime Minister (until 1970, Premier) of Tonga heads the government of the Kingdom of Tonga (His Majesty's government), while the King is the official head of the executive power.The office of Prime Minister was established by the Constitution of 1875, whose article 51 stipulates that the Prime Minister and other ministers are appointed and dismissed by the King.

Sialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō

Siale ʻAtaongo Kaho, Lord Tuʻivakanō (born 15 January 1952) is a Tongan politician who served as the Prime Minister of Tonga from 2010 to 2014.

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