His Majesty King Tupou VI opened Tonga’s Parliament this morning after a letter from him was read in the House.
Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva is still in intensive care and did not attend the opening ceremony.
HSH Prince Tu’ipelehake, who was accompanied by Lord Fakatulolo and Lord Luani, read the letter to Members of Parliament.
According to a copy of the letter which was written in Tongan released to news media after the soft opening this morning, the king expressed his wish to work together with all Members of Parliament.
The king said it was important to recognise the progress of the economic and social development projects which had been initiated in previous years.
This included the new domestic wharf development which would be opened soon. It would be named the Taufa’āhau Tupou IV Domestic Terminal.
“I would like to thank foreign countries which assist our country’s development projects including the Communist Party of the Republic of China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand,” His Majesty said.
“Because this is the first Parliament after the election in November last year, I would like to wish good luck to this meeting and hope for a close working relationship in future in accordance with the laws and constitution so that the nation will be advantageous and peaceful.”
As Kaniva News reported yesterday, Members of Parliament will be sworn in at a date to be fixed by the Speaker and the Prime Minister.
According to Radio New Zealand, Parliament’s first sitting day will be confirmed once the King can attend.
The Prime Minister was kept from this morning’s open by ill health.
As we reported yesterday, health authorities advised him to remain in hospital after they learned the swearing-in ceremony would not be hold during this morning’s opening.
Hon. Pōhiva was recovering well at the hospital’s intensive care unit after he was admitted over the weekend with an undisclosed illness, a Health spokesperson said.
The king’s message comes after he dissolved Parliament in August last year because he was unhappy with the Pōhiva government.
He ordered a snap election in November which resulted in Hon. Pōhiva and his party winning 14 seats out of the 17 electoral seats for people’s MPs, a victory that enabled them to form the government on their own.
King Tupou VI’s message this morning was the first to be made public from the ruler of the nation after the dissolution, after he appointed Hon. Pōhiva to the premiership on January 3, and approved all Hon. Pōhiva’s ministerial lineup with effect from January 5.
The message gave the nation some relief, especially Hon. Pōhiva’s supporters, as it implied the king has accepted the results of the November snap election.
The main points
- His Majesty King Tupou VI opened Tonga’s Parliament this morning after a letter from him was read in the House.
- In the letter the king expressed his wish to work together with all Members of Parliament.
- Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva is still in intensive care and was unable to attend.
- MPS will be sworn in at a date to be fixed by the Speaker and the Prime Minister.
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