Today, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, Lord Fakafanua, issued invitations to all elected Representatives of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, calling for submission of nominations of an elected Representative to the Legislative Assembly as a candidate for Prime Minister Designate. The invitation was issued following the passing of the Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Prime Minister of Tonga on 12 September 2019, which has resulted in a vacancy in the position. The Constitution of Tonga requires the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to invite nominations of candidates for the Prime Minister Designate and to conduct the meeting to elect the same, in accordance with procedures and timelines expressly provided in the Constitution.

Nomination(s) for Prime Minister Designate can now be submitted by an elected Representative to the Legislative Assembly to the Office of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. The acceptance of nominations will close at 4.30pm, on Thursday 26 September 2019. The Speaker has outlined in his letter of invitation to the elected Representatives to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga the process provided in the Act of the Constitution of Tonga for the proper submission of nomination(s). A nomination must be submitted by an elected Representative to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, to be duly seconded by two other elected Representatives to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. An elected Representative to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga who has submitted or seconded a nomination cannot do the same in respect of a nomination of another candidate. A nomination’s compliance with legal requirements is of utmost importance as a nomination will be deemed void due to non-compliance.

The Speaker will open and read out nomination(s) on the day of the meeting of all elected Representatives to the Legislative Assembly of Tonga to elect the Prime Minister Designate. The date of that meeting will be announced following the close of the period for receiving nominations. The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly will preside over that meeting.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly also issued a writ for election today for the bye-election to elect a Representative for the People of Tongatapu 1, as that seat was vacant due to the passing of the Hon. Prime Minister Pohiva who was also the Representative for Constituency Tongatapu 1. The Electoral Commission will announce the date and place for the bye-election for Tongatapu 1. Meanwhile, the election of a Prime Minister Designate will not wait for the result of the bye-election because the Constitution clearly provides a timeline to be followed upon a vacancy in the position of the Prime Minister for Tonga.

 

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