Legislative Assembly of Tonga

The Legislative Assembly (Tongan: Fale Alea) of Tonga has 25 members in which 17 members elected by majority of the people for a 5-year term in multi-seat constituencies via the single non-transferable vote system. There are 8 members elected by the 33 hereditary nobles of Tonga. The Assembly is controlled by the speaker of the House who is elected by majority of the elected members of Parliament and constitutionally appointed by the king.

Legislative Assembly of Tonga

Fale Alea
Fatafehi Fakafanua
since December 2017
Seats25 members
Political groups
  •   Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands (8)
  •   Nobles' representatives (8)
  •   Former DPFI members (5)
  •   Independents (3)
  •   Vacant (1)
multi-seat constituency
Last election
2017 Tongan general election
Meeting place


A Legislative Assembly providing for representation of nobles and commoners was established in 1862 by King George Tupou I.[1] This body met every four years and was continued in the 1875 Constitution.

Originally the Legislative Assembly consisted of all holders of noble titles, an equal number of people's representatives, the governors for Ha’apai and Vava’u, and at least four Cabinet Ministers chosen by the monarch.[2] An increase in the number of nobles from twenty to thirty saw the Assembly grow to 70 members.[3] Amendments in 1914 saw a reduction in the size of the Assembly and annual sittings. The principle of equal representation of nobles and commoners was retained.[4]

In April 2010 the Legislative Assembly enacted a package of political reforms, increasing the number of people's representatives from nine to seventeen,[5] with ten seats for Tongatapu, three for Vava’u, two for Ha’apai and one each for Niuas and 'Eua.[6]

The 100-year-old Tongan Parliament House was destroyed by Cyclone Gita, a Category 4 tropical cyclone that passed through the nation on 12 and 13 February 2018.[7]

Speaker of the Assembly

The Legislative Assembly is presided over by a Speaker, who is elected by the MPs at the first meeting of elected members after the general election.[8] Prior to 2010, the Speaker was appointed by the monarch.[9]

A complete list of the Speakers is below:[10][11]

Name Took office Left office Notes
Hon. Viliami Tungi18751896
Hon. Siaosi Tuku'aho18971897
Hon. Siaosi Tu'ipelehake18971912
Hon. Finau 'Ulukalala19121938
Hon. Iosaiasi Veikune193919401st term
Hon. Tu'ivakano194119411st term
Hon. Nuku19421944
Hon. Iosaiasi Veikune194519452nd term
Hon. Tu'ivakano194619482nd term
Hon. Iosaiasi Veikune194919493rd term
Hon. Tu'ivaikano195019503rd term
Hon. Kalaniuvalu19511958
Hon. Ma'afu Tukui'aulahi19591984
Hon. Kalaniuvalu Fotofili19851986
Hon. Malupo19871989
Hon. Fusitu'a19901998[12]
Hon. VeikuneApril 199920011st term
Lord Tuʻivakanō1 July 200220041st term
Hon. Veikune22 March 2005January 20062nd term
Hon. Havea Tui'ha'angana10 February 2006April 2008[13]
Hon. Tu'ilakepa2 May 20082010
Lord Tupou (interim)3 December 201021 December 2010[14]
Hon. Lasike21 December 201018 July 2012
Lord Fakafanua19 July 201229 December 20141st term
Lord TuʻivakanōJanuary 2015December 20172nd term
Lord FakafanuaDecember 20172nd term[15]

Terms of the Tongan Legislative Assembly

Until 2010, the government was appointed by the monarch without reference to Parliament, and there were no political parties. The last term under the old system was the 2008 Tongan Legislative Assembly. Political reform in 2010 saw the Prime Minister elected by Parliament from among its members, leading to responsible government.

Term Elected in Government
2010 Parliament 2010 election Independent
2014 Parliament 2014 election No overall majority
2017 Parliament 2017 election DPFI


Clerk (Kalae Pule Falealea 'o Tonga)

  • Sione Tekiteki (2011–2012)
  • Gloria Pole'o (2012–present)

Legislative Procedures

See also


  1. David Stanley (1999). Tonga-Samoa Handbook. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-56691-174-0.
  2. Ian Campbell (2005). "The Quest for Constitutional Reform in Tonga". Journal of Pacific History. 40 (1): 91–104. doi:10.1080/00223340500082400. S2CID 22501018.
  3. Campbell (2005), p. 93.
  4. Sione Latukefu. "History of our Constitution". Government of Tonga. Retrieved 2010-03-02.[permanent dead link]
  5. "Tonga Parliament enacts political reforms". Radio New Zealand International. 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  6. "Tonga parliament votes on amended boundaries". Radio New Zealand International. 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  7. "Tonga parliament building flattened by Cyclone Gita". BBC News. 13 February 2018.
  8. "FAQs".
  9. Constitution of Tonga Archived 2008-11-19 at the Wayback Machine, s. 61
  10. "List of Speakers of the Tongan Legislative Assembly".
  11. This is drawn from Member profiles on the Legislative Assembly's official website
  12. "Lord Fusitu'a passes away".
  13. http://archive.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2317_05.htm
  14. http://archive.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2317_10.htm
  15. "Tongan Parliament elects Pōhiva as PM for next four years | Asia Pacific Report".