Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A noble coup in Tonga

Tonga's nobles don't like the Prime Minister. They don't like his policies, but more importantly, they don't like the fact that he's a "commoner", not One Of Them. So, they got their king to dissolve parliament in the hope of getting someone different:

King Tupou VI dissolved the country's parliament on Thursday and called for elections a year early in an effective vote of no confidence in Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.


Reports from Tonga said Mr Pohiva had described the move to dissolve the parliament as part of a failed coup.

Mr Pohiva told New Zealand's Newshub the move was an organised attempt to push him out.

He said he was never informed of the decision and that the way it occurred could be illegal.

Newshub reported Mr Pohiva learned of the king's decision to dissolve the parliament on social media.

Mr Pohiva had originally planned to retire after one term, but now said he will stand again in the November election.

Constitutionally, Tonga's unelected king has the power to dissolve parliament whenever he wants, and is not yet constrained by convention. At the same time, its deeply undemocratic, and clearly an outcome of his own political views. The problem is, what happens if Pohiva gets elected again? Will the nobles respect the people's decision, or will they get their king to call new elections again and force people to keep voting until they make the "right" choice? And if they try such a stunt, how long do they think they can do it before the people get sick of it and vote them off the island for good?