Prime Minister of Tonga

Last updated

Prime Minister of the
Kingdom of Tonga
Coat of arms of Tonga.svg
Flag of Tonga.svg
Pohiva Tu`i`onetoa (cropped).jpg
Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa

since 8 October 2019
Style The Honourable
Status Head of Government
Member of Cabinet of Tonga, Legislative Assembly of Tonga
Seat Nuku’alofa
Appointer King of Tonga
Constituting instrument Constitution of Tonga
Inaugural holder Tēvita ʻUnga (Premier)
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake (Prime Minister)
Formation1876 (Premier)
1970 (Prime Minister)
DeputyDeputy Prime Minister of Tonga
(Vacant since 14 December 2020)
Salary T$ 94,500 annually [1]
Prime Minister's Office in Nuku'alofa Parliament Nuku'alofa.jpg
Prime Minister’s Office in Nuku’alofa

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. [2] The current prime minister is Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, in office since 8 October 2019 following the death of ʻAkilisi Pōhiva on 12 September 2019. [3]


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. [4]

2000s democratization

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. [5]

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. [6] [7] [8]

List of premiers/prime ministers of Tonga (1876–present)

No.PortraitNameTook officeLeft officeTime in officeParty Monarch
Tevita `Unga.jpg
Unga, TēvitaCrown Prince
Tēvita ʻUnga
(c. 1824–1879)
1 January 187618 December 1879 3 years, 351 days Independent George Tupou I
Vacant (18 December 1879 – April 1881)
SW Baker.jpg
Baker, Shirley WaldemarRev.
Shirley Waldemar Baker
April 1881July 18909 years, 3 months Independent George Tupou I
Siaosi Uiliami Tuku`aho.jpg
Tukuʻaho, Siaosi Siaosi Tukuʻaho
July 189018932–3 years Independent George Tupou I
Siosateki Veikune.jpg
Veikune, Siosateki Siosateki Veikune
1893January 190511–12 years Independent George Tupou II
Siaosi Fatafehi Toutaitokotaha.jpg
Pelehake, Siaosi Tuʻi Siaosi Tuʻi Pelehake
January 1905January 19050 months Independent George Tupou II
Sione Tupou Mateialona.jpg
Mateialona, Sione Tupou Sione Tupou Mateialona
January 190530 September 19127 years, 7 months Independent George Tupou II
TPP Tu`ivakano.jpg
Tuʻivakano, Tevita Tevita Tuʻivakano
30 September 191230 June 192310 years, 304 days Independent George Tupou II
Sālote Tupou III
Mailefihi, Viliami TungīPrince
Viliami Tungī Mailefihi CBE
30 June 192320 July 194118 years, 20 days Independent Sālote Tupou III
Ata (Solomone).jpg
Ata, Solomone Ula Solomone Ula Ata OBE
20 July 194112 December 19498 years, 145 days Independent Sālote Tupou III
Tupouto`a Tungi.jpg
Tungi, Taufa'ahauCrown Prince
Taufa'ahau Tungi KBE
[lower-alpha 1]
12 December 194916 December 196516 years, 4 days Independent Sālote Tupou III
Coat of arms of Tonga.svg
Tuʻipelehake, FatafehiPrince
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake CBE
16 December 196522 August 199125 years, 249 days Independent Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
ST` Vaea.jpg
Tupou, SiaosiBaron
Siaosi Tuʻihala ʻAlipate Vaea Tupou
22 August 19913 January 20008 years, 134 days Independent Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Ulukalala Lavaka Ata.jpg
Tukuʻaho, AhoʻeituPrince
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho
(born 1959)
[lower-alpha 2]
3 January 200011 February 20066 years, 39 days Independent Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Sevele, FeletiDr.
Feleti Sevele
(born 1944)
30 March 200622 December 20104 years, 314 days HRDM Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
George Tupou V
Siale`ataongo Tu`ivakano 2014.jpg
Tuʻivakanō, Sialeʻataongo Siale ʻAtaongo Kaho, Lord Tuʻivakanō
(born 1952)
22 December 201030 December 20144 years, 8 days Independent George Tupou V
Tupou VI
Akilisi Pohiva ITU 2016.jpg
Pōhiva, Akilisi ʻAkilisi Pōhiva
30 December 201412 September 2019 4 years, 256 days DPFI Tupou VI
Semisi Sika May 2019.jpg
Sika, Semisi Semisi Sika
(born 1968)
12 September 20198 October 201926 days DPFI Tupou VI
Pohiva Tu`i`onetoa (cropped).jpg
Tuionetoa, Pohiva Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa
(born 1961)
8 October 2019Incumbent1 year, 290 days Independent Tupou VI

Living former prime ministers

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.

See also


  1. Later King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.
  2. Later King Tupou VI.

Related Research Articles

Tonga Country in the South Pacific

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.

History of Tonga Aspect of history

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 Political system of Tonga

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 King of Tonga from 1965 to 2006

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.

Tupou VI King of Tonga

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 King of Tonga from 2006 to 2012

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 Sevele

Feleti Vakaʻuta Sevele, Lord Sevele of Vailahi was the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga from 30 March 2006 to 22 December 2010.

2006 Nukuʻalofa riots

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.

2005 Tongan general election

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.

ʻAkilisi Pōhiva former Prime Minister of Tonga

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.

2010 Tongan general election

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.

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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.

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.

Pohiva Tuʻiʻonetoa Tongan prime minister

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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.


  1. "New Public Service Remuneration Structure Approved by the Government of Tonga".
  2. "The Executive government ", Tonga government
  3. "Tonga MPs choose Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa as Prime Minister". TVNZ. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  4. Constitution of Tonga Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Tonga gets first elected leader", BBC, 13 February 2006
  6. "Tonga's king to cede key powers", BBC, 29 July 2008
  7. "Tongan king promises 'more democracy' for Pacific island", The Guardian, 29 July 2008
  8. "King of Tonga prepares to give up power", The Telegraph, 11 July 2010