Prime Minister of Tonga

Prime Minister of the
Kingdom of Tonga
Coat of arms of Tonga.svg
Flag of Tonga.svg
Pohiva Tuʻiʻonetoa (cropped).jpg
Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa

since 8 October 2019
StyleThe Honourable
StatusHead of Government
Member ofCabinet of Tonga, Legislative Assembly of Tonga
AppointerKing of Tonga
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Tonga
Inaugural holderTēvita ʻUnga (Premier)
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake (Prime Minister)
Formation1876 (Premier)
1970 (Prime Minister)
DeputyDeputy Prime Minister of Tonga
(Vacant since 14 December 2020)
SalaryT$ 94,500 annually[1]
Prime Minister’s Office in Nuku’alofa

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.[2] The current prime minister is Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, in office since 8 October 2019 following the death of ʻAkilisi Pōhiva on 12 September 2019.[3]

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.[4]

2000s democratization

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.[5]

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.[6][7][8]

List of premiers/prime ministers of Tonga (1876–present)

No. Portrait Name Took office Left office Time in office Party Monarch
Tēvita ʻUnga
Unga, TēvitaCrown Prince
Tēvita ʻUnga
(c. 1824–1879)
1 January 187618 December 1879 †3 years, 351 daysIndependentGeorge Tupou I
Vacant (18 December 1879 – April 1881)
Shirley Waldemar Baker
Baker, Shirley WaldemarRev.
Shirley Waldemar Baker
April 1881July 18909 years, 3 monthsIndependentGeorge Tupou I
Siaosi Tukuʻaho
Tukuʻaho, SiaosiSiaosi Tukuʻaho
July 189018932–3 yearsIndependentGeorge Tupou I
Siosateki Veikune
Veikune, SiosatekiSiosateki Veikune
1893January 190511–12 yearsIndependentGeorge Tupou II
Siaosi Tuʻi Pelehake
Pelehake, Siaosi TuʻiSiaosi Tuʻi Pelehake
January 1905January 19050 monthsIndependentGeorge Tupou II
Sione Tupou Mateialona
Mateialona, Sione TupouSione Tupou Mateialona
January 190530 September 19127 years, 7 monthsIndependentGeorge Tupou II
Tevita Tuʻivakano
Tuʻivakano, TevitaTevita Tuʻivakano
30 September 191230 June 192310 years, 304 daysIndependentGeorge Tupou II
Sālote Tupou III
Viliami Tungī Mailefihi CBE
Mailefihi, Viliami TungīPrince
Viliami Tungī Mailefihi CBE
30 June 192320 July 194118 years, 20 daysIndependentSālote Tupou III
Solomone Ula Ata OBE
Ata, Solomone UlaSolomone Ula Ata OBE
20 July 194112 December 19498 years, 145 daysIndependentSālote Tupou III
Taufa'ahau Tungi KBE
Tungi, Taufa'ahauCrown Prince
Taufa'ahau Tungi KBE
12 December 194916 December 196516 years, 4 daysIndependentSālote Tupou III
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake CBE
Tuʻipelehake, FatafehiPrince
Fatafehi Tuʻipelehake CBE
16 December 196522 August 199125 years, 249 daysIndependentTāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Siaosi Tuʻihala ʻAlipate Vaea Tupou
Tupou, SiaosiBaron
Siaosi Tuʻihala ʻAlipate Vaea Tupou
22 August 19913 January 20008 years, 134 daysIndependentTāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho
Tukuʻaho, AhoʻeituPrince
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho
(born 1959)
3 January 200011 February 20066 years, 39 daysIndependentTāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
Feleti Sevele
Sevele, FeletiDr.
Feleti Sevele
(born 1944)
30 March 200622 December 20104 years, 314 daysHRDMTāufaʻāhau Tupou IV
George Tupou V
Siale ʻAtaongo Kaho, Lord Tuʻivakanō
Tuʻivakanō, SialeʻataongoSiale ʻAtaongo Kaho, Lord Tuʻivakanō
(born 1952)
22 December 201030 December 20144 years, 8 daysIndependentGeorge Tupou V
Tupou VI
ʻAkilisi Pōhiva
Pōhiva, AkilisiʻAkilisi Pōhiva
30 December 201412 September 2019 †4 years, 256 daysDPFITupou VI
Semisi Sika
Sika, SemisiSemisi Sika
(born 1968)
12 September 20198 October 201926 daysDPFITupou VI
Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa
Tuionetoa, PohivaPōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa
(born 1961)
8 October 2019Incumbent1 year, 236 daysIndependentTupou 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.

See also


  1. ^ Later King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.
  2. ^ Later King Tupou VI.


  1. ^ "New Public Service Remuneration Structure Approved by the Government of Tonga". www.mic.gov.to.
  2. ^ "The Executive government ", Tonga government
  3. ^ "Tonga MPs choose Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa as Prime Minister". TVNZ. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  4. ^ Constitution of Tonga Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Tonga gets first elected leader", BBC, 13 February 2006
  6. ^ "Tonga's king to cede key powers", BBC, 29 July 2008
  7. ^ "Tongan king promises 'more democracy' for Pacific island", The Guardian, 29 July 2008
  8. ^ "King of Tonga prepares to give up power", The Telegraph, 11 July 2010

External links

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