|Prime Minister of the|
Kingdom of Tonga
|Status||Head of Government|
|Member of||Cabinet of Tonga, Legislative Assembly of Tonga|
|Appointer||King of Tonga|
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of Tonga|
|Inaugural holder|| Tēvita ʻUnga (Premier)|
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake (Prime Minister)
1970 (Prime Minister)
|Deputy||Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga|
(Vacant since 14 December 2020)
|Salary||T$ 94,500 annually|
The prime minister of Tonga (historically referred to as the premier) is the country's head of government. Tonga is a monarchy with the king, currently Tupou VI, former prime minister, as head of state.The current prime minister is Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, in office since 8 October 2019 following the death of ʻAkilisi Pōhiva on 12 September 2019.
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.
During the 2000s, the country experienced an increase in democratization. In March 2006, King Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV appointed Feleti Sevele, a moderate member of the Human Rights and Democracy Movement, as prime minister. Sevele was the first commoner to hold this post since Shirley Waldemar Baker in 1881. All the prime ministers since Baker had been members of the nobility, or even the royal family.
In July 2008, King George Tupou V announced more substantial democratic reforms. He would abandon the essential part of his executive powers, and would henceforth follow the custom of monarchies such as the United Kingdom, exercising his prerogatives only with the prime minister's advice. In addition, he would no longer appoint the prime minister anyone he wished, but would appoint a member of the Legislative Assembly to be elected by the Legislative Assembly.
|No.||Portrait||Name||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Party||Monarch|
|1 January 1876||18 December 1879 †||3 years, 351 days||Independent||George Tupou I|
|Vacant (18 December 1879 – April 1881)|
Shirley Waldemar Baker
|April 1881||July 1890||9 years, 3 months||Independent||George Tupou I|
|3||Siaosi Tukuʻaho |
|July 1890||1893||2–3 years||Independent||George Tupou I|
|4||Siosateki Veikune |
|1893||January 1905||11–12 years||Independent||George Tupou II|
|5||Siaosi Tuʻi Pelehake |
|January 1905||January 1905||0 months||Independent||George Tupou II|
|6||Sione Tupou Mateialona |
|January 1905||30 September 1912||7 years, 7 months||Independent||George Tupou II|
|7||Tevita Tuʻivakano |
|30 September 1912||30 June 1923||10 years, 304 days||Independent|| George Tupou II |
Sālote Tupou III
Viliami Tungī Mailefihi
|30 June 1923||20 July 1941||18 years, 20 days||Independent||Sālote Tupou III|
|9||Solomone Ula Ata |
|20 July 1941||12 December 1949||8 years, 145 days||Independent||Sālote Tupou III|
|12 December 1949||16 December 1965||16 years, 4 days||Independent||Sālote Tupou III|
|16 December 1965||22 August 1991||25 years, 249 days||Independent||Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV|
Siaosi Tuʻihala ʻAlipate Vaea Tupou
|22 August 1991||3 January 2000||8 years, 134 days||Independent||Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV|
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho
|3 January 2000||11 February 2006||6 years, 39 days||Independent||Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV|
|30 March 2006||22 December 2010||4 years, 314 days||HRDM|| Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV |
George Tupou V
|15||Siale ʻAtaongo Kaho, Lord Tuʻivakanō |
|22 December 2010||30 December 2014||4 years, 8 days||Independent|| George Tupou V |
|16||ʻAkilisi Pōhiva |
|30 December 2014||12 September 2019 †||4 years, 256 days||DPFI||Tupou VI|
|—||Semisi Sika |
|12 September 2019||8 October 2019||26 days||DPFI||Tupou VI|
|17||Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa |
|8 October 2019||Incumbent||1 year, 290 days||Independent||Tupou VI|
As of July 2021, there are three former living Tongan prime ministers, including King Tupou VI, as seen below. This listing excludes former acting prime ministers.
Tonga, officially named the Kingdom of Tonga, is a Polynesian country, and also an archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. The archipelago's total surface area is about 750 square kilometres (290 sq mi) scattered over 700,000 square kilometres (270,000 sq mi) of the southern Pacific Ocean. As of 2016, Tonga had a population of 100,651, 70% of whom resided on the main island, Tongatapu.
The history of Tonga is recorded since the century after 900 BC, when seafarers associated with the Lapita diaspora first settled the islands which now make up the Kingdom of Tonga. Along with Fiji and Samoa, the area served as a gateway into the rest of the Pacific region known as Polynesia. Ancient Tongan mythologies recorded by early European explorers report the islands of 'Ata and Tongatapu as the first islands having been hauled to the surface from the deep ocean by Maui.
Politics of Tonga takes place in a framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the King is the Head of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Tonga's Prime Minister is currently appointed by the King from among the members of Parliament after having won the support of a majority of its members. Executive power is vested in the Cabinet of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in the King in Parliament, and judicial power is vested in the supreme court.
Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV was the King of Tonga, from the death of his mother, Queen Sālote Tupou III, in 1965 until his own death in 2006.
ʻAhoʻeitu Tupou VI is King of Tonga. He is the younger brother and successor of the late King George Tupou V. He was officially confirmed by his brother on 27 September 2006 as the heir presumptive to the Throne of Tonga, as his brother had no legitimate children. He served as Tonga's High Commissioner to Australia, and resided in Canberra until the death of King George Tupou V on 18 March 2012, when ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho became King of Tonga, with the regnal name ʻAhoʻeitu Tupou VI.
George Tupou V was the King of Tonga from the death of his father Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV in 2006 until his own death six years later.
The Human Rights and Democracy Movement (HRDM) is a political party in Tonga. Its leader is Uliti Uata.
Feleti Vakaʻuta Sevele, Lord Sevele of Vailahi was the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga from 30 March 2006 to 22 December 2010.
The 2006 Nukuʻalofa riots, also known as the Tongan riots, started on 16 November, in the Tongan capital of Nukuʻalofa. The Legislative Assembly of Tonga was due to adjourn for the year and despite promises of action, had done little to advance democracy in the government. A mixed crowd of democracy advocates took to the streets in protest. The riots saw a number of cases of robbery, looting, vehicle theft, arson and various property damage.
General elections were held in Tonga on 17 March 2005. Only nine members of the 30-seat parliament are elected, the rest appointed by the King or are members of the Tongan aristocracy. The Human Rights and Democracy Movement won seven of the nine seats. 'Aho'eitu 'Unuaki'otonga Tuku'aho, son of the King, initially retained his position as Prime Minister, but he resigned in 2006, with the position passing to Feleti Sevele, one of the two independent candidates elected. Sevele is the first non-noble Prime Minister of the country.
Samiuela ʻAkilisi Pōhiva was a Tongan pro-democracy activist and politician. Pohiva, the leader of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (DPFI), served as the Prime Minister of Tonga from 2014 to his death in 2019. He was only the fourth commoner to serve as Prime Minister, and the first commoner to be elected to that position by Parliament rather than appointed by the King.
Early general elections under a new electoral law were held in Tonga on 25 November 2010. They determined the composition of the 2010 Tongan Legislative Assembly.
William Clive Edwards OBE is a Tongan barrister and politician who formerly served as a Cabinet Minister and Acting Deputy Prime Minister. He is a member of the People's Democratic Party.
Siosaʻia Lausiʻi, but since his installation on 30 Oct 1997 with the noble title 10th Maʻafu, better known as Lord Maʻafu, is a Tongan politician, former military officer, and member of the Tongan nobility.
Falisi Tupou is a Tongan journalist and politician.
A by-election was held for the ʻEua Noble seat to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga on 2 August 2012. It was triggered by the dismissal from Parliament of the incumbent, the Speaker Lord Lasike, following his conviction for illegal possession of ammunition in July.
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.
Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa is a Tongan accountant and politician serving as the current prime minister of Tonga since 2019. Tu'i'onetoa succeeded Semisi Sika, who had served as acting prime minister, since the death of ʻAkilisi Pōhiva.
Tevita Lavemaau is a Tongan politician and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga.
Dr Tevita Tu'i Uata is a Tongan politician and former Cabinet Minister. He is a member of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands. He is the son of former MP ‘Uliti Uata.