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TONGA
Fale Alea (Legislative Assembly)
LAST ELECTIONS

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Fale Alea / Legislative Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
BACKGROUND
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 16 November 2017
Purpose of elections Snap elections in 2017 gave a resounding victory to the former Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, dismissed by the King in August. Independent candidates (see note 1) supporting Mr. Pohiva took 14 of the 17 directly-elected seats - up from eight previously - in the 30-member Legislative Assembly (see note 2). Two women were elected, compared to none in 2014. Lord Tangi became the Acting Speaker to oversee the process of electing a Prime Minister. On 18 December, the Legislative Assembly re-elected Mr. Pohiva as Prime Minister.

On 24 August, King Tupou VI dissolved parliament and called snap elections, without giving any reasons but stating that he had received advice from the Speaker, Lord Tu'ivakano. In a statement issued on 28 August, the Speaker accused the Government of "attempting to concentrate powers in Cabinet by gradually weaning away the powers of the King in Privy Council" and having "trespassed on the King's powers to make treaties", citing the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus, signed by the Government in June 2017. On 30 August, the Attorney General said the signature of the treaty was not valid as it was not presented to the King for approval. The Government stated "The process is to sign first and then the ratification" by the King.

Note 1:
Tonga does not have a party system and all candidates formally ran as independents. The 14 independent candidates elected belong to the so-called Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (DPFI), led by the Prime Minister. The DPFI took eight seats in the 2014 elections.

Note 2:
The Legislative Assembly also comprises the representatives of the nobles (currently nine) and all members of the Cabinet. The Cabinet may include no more than four persons who are not elected to the Legislative Assembly (Clause 51 of the Constitution). The Legislative Assembly may thus comprise up to 30 members.
Date of previous elections: 27 November 2014

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: 24 August 2017

Timing of election: Early elections

Expected date of next elections: November 2021

Number of seats at stake: 17 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 86 (71 men, 15 women)

Percentage of women candidates: 17.4%

Number of parties contesting the election: Tonga has no party system.

Number of parties winning seats: N/A

Alternation of power: No

Number of parties in government: N/A

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 18 December 2017

Name of the new Speaker: Lord Fakafanua
STATISTICS
Voter turnout
Round no 116 November 2017
Number of registered electors
Voters
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
59'003
39'612 (67.14%)

Notes
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Men
Women
Percent of women
25
2
7.41%
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Comments
Sources:
Legislative Assembly (20.11.2017, 16.01.2018, 17.01.2018)
Supervisor of Election (14.01.2018)
http://tongaelections.com/index.php/component/content/article/215-2017-general-elections-results
http://www.parliament.gov.to/~parliam1/images/Scan-170829-0001.pdf
http://matangitonga.to
http://www.radionz.co.nz/
http://www.eastasiaforum.org
http://www.pireport.org/

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