Tongan govt expects no-confidence motion

A senior minister in Tonga's Democratic Party government expects political opponents to try and bring down the administration by way of a no confidence motion in the coming term.

This week the party leader 'Akilisi Pohiva was re-elected as Prime Minister in a parliamentary vote, 14 to 12.

The result came off a comprehensive November election victory, where Mr Pohiva's Democratic Party won 14 of the 17 people's seats.

There have been calls for parliament to operate in a more collegial manner after August's shock dissolution of the House.

But Pohiva Tu'ionetoa, who held a number of portfolios in the last Cabinet, said MPs outside of the party could have taken the opportunity to work alongside the government by not standing against their prime ministerial candidate, or by voting for him.

Mr Tu'ionetoa said instead they tried to get 'Akilisi Pohiva out of the prime minister's post.

"I thought that they would find some sense and see what the will of the people [is] and also come to us so that we can work together but when we won the election of the Prime Minster, I think they still don't want to come and work as a coalition government and I think for the future, there will still be differences," he said.

Mr Tu'ionetoa said he believed a no-confidence motion after 18 months is almost inevitable given the Noble representatives desperation to unseat the government.

Tonga's new Cabinet is expected to be named before Christmas.



Photo: Legislative Assembly 'Akilisi Pohiva addresses Parliament before the Prime Ministerial ballot