Tonga

Akilisi Pohiva elected first commoner Prime Minister


Published

Following the general election of 27th November, Akilisi Pohiva has been elected as Prime Minister of the country, the first commoner to hold the post.

Akilisi Pohiva took 15 votes in the 26 seat Legislative Assembly against his rival for the post, Samiu Vaipulu, who took 11 votes. The house proceeded to elect former Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano as the new Speaker of the Tongan Parliament

Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva is a former teacher, broadcaster and newspaper publisher who has been a driving force in the pro-democracy movement in the country. He is leader of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands. Akilisi Pohiva was first elected to the Tongan parliament in 1987 and has faced a tough battle to bring democracy to the country, having been arrested and charged with sedition in 2007 following the 2006 Nuku’alofa riots. He was briefly brought into the Cabinet in 2010 as Minister of Health but resigned less than a month later. He is married to Neomai Pohiva.

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