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Three petitions urge Tongan King to dissolve parliament

Three petitions with over 10,000 signatures calling for King Tupou VI to dissolve the Tongan Parliament and establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Pohiva government, were presented to the Palace Office in Nuku'alofa Monday.

The petitions are a reaction to what the proponents refer to as "no checks and balances" and "corruption" in government.

A former government minister Clive Edwards presented a petition signed by former politicians and former cabinet ministers.

Lord Nuku, a current Nobles Representative of Parliament, also a former cabinet minister, presented a petition from Nobles of the Crown.

Teisina Fuko, a former MP and also a former cabinet minister presented a petition from the general public.

Clive Edwards, a former Minister of Justice, said he believed that once a Royal Commission for Investigation was appointed, it would then be appropriate for a care-taker government to be in place. Clive said that such a process had taken place in democracies, for example in Australia.

Teisina Fuko said that the petitions had gathered more than 10,000 signatures. He also said that a fourth petition from another sector of the society was expected to be presented today.

Fuko said the petitions seek to address a perceived problem that there are no effective checks and balances on the current government and that the government lacks good leadership.

He said although initially there was public pressure for a major public participation and demonstration to present the Petitions, but they decided it was best to avoid possible confrontations with the government's supporters

In presenting their petitions they also requested an opportunity to have dialogue with King Tupou VI.

In August 2017 King Tupou VI dissolved the Tonga Legislative Assembly by Gazetting an instrument of dissolution, and commanding a new general election be held the same year.

However, in the snap 2017 election all nine cabinet ministers of Tonga's Caretaker Government were re-elected. Since then Cabinet ministers have been sacked or resigned, and many top government posts have been reshuffled.


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