Prime Minister of Tonga
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.
|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 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.
List of premiers/prime ministers of Tonga (1876–present)
|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|
|July 1890||1893||2–3 years||Independent||George Tupou I|
|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|
|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|
|30 December 2014||12 September 2019 †||4 years, 256 days||DPFI||Tupou VI|
|12 September 2019||8 October 2019||26 days||DPFI||Tupou VI|
|8 October 2019||Incumbent||1 year, 257 days||Independent||Tupou VI|
Living former prime ministers
As of June 2021, there are three former living Tongan prime ministers, including King Tupou VI, as seen below. This listing excludes former acting prime ministers.
- Tupou VI
Born 1959 (age 61)
- Dr. Feleti Sevele
Born 1944 (Age 76)
- Lord Tuʻivakanō
Born 1952 (age 69)
- Later King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.
- Later King Tupou VI.
- "New Public Service Remuneration Structure Approved by the Government of Tonga". www.mic.gov.to.
- "The Executive government ", Tonga government
- "Tonga MPs choose Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa as Prime Minister". TVNZ. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- Constitution of Tonga Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "Tonga gets first elected leader", BBC, 13 February 2006
- "Tonga's king to cede key powers", BBC, 29 July 2008
- "Tongan king promises 'more democracy' for Pacific island", The Guardian, 29 July 2008
- "King of Tonga prepares to give up power", The Telegraph, 11 July 2010