Tonga. According to Countryaah, Lord Tu’iha’ateiho, the Deputy Speaker of Tonga’s Single Chamber Parliament, announced in August that he would leave his post – due to lack of skills. Tu’iha’ateiho said he did not feel “sufficiently competent for the mission”. He had been indicted for unlawful possession of a firearm in 2010, but according to the Justice Minister, that was not a sufficient reason for departure. The popular reaction to the resignation decision was positive, while a united parliament opposed it and urged Tu’iha’ateiho to remain as president. When the trial of the Deputy Speaker was postponed until November 2014, he looked to remain at his post until further notice. He refused to hold the weapon.
The king’s heir, Prince Fatafehi Tu ‘ipelehake, who had been prime minister since 1965, was replaced in 1991 by Baron Vaea. In 1992, opposition groups formed the Pro-Democracy Movement, winning 6 of the 9 seats in the February 1993 parliamentary elections.
Yet the power of the king is controlled, persons appointed by him to high positions within the state, and a small group of nobles. In September 1994, the Pro-Democracy Movement transformed into the Tonga Democratic Party under ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s leadership.
The king continued to promise multi-party rule, without changing his almost total monopoly on power. Tourism rose significantly in the early 1990s – 11.3% in 1994. That same year, Tonga refused to allow Japan to catch whales in its territorial waters.
Along with other countries in the South Pacific Forum, Nukualofa sharply criticized the French nuclear tests on Mururoa and Fangataufa in 1995 and 96.
In January 1996, the so-called People’s Party won 6 out of the 9 seats in parliament. In the same year, a longer drought severely affected the economy – especially agriculture. The agricultural products accounted for 80% of the country’s export revenue.
Protests against the regime of political liberalization continued in 1997. The same year, several arrests of political leaders and journalists were recorded.
In March 1998, the Minister of Earth, the nobleman Fakafanua (the king’s brother-in-law) was arrested and charged with fraud with public funds and for receiving bribes. A court released him a few days later, though he was banned from leaving the country.
In December 2000, Tonga sold the right to explore the genes of the country’s 108,000 large population to an Australian company, provided the results of the research were made available to the Tongales free of charge. The country has been in the spotlight for genetic companies for several years due to the disproportionate representation of obesity in the population.
In October 2001, two ministers – including the Deputy Prime Minister – were forced to resign when the government admitted that about $ 26 million had disappeared. US $ from the public coffers. The scandal also involved the North American businessman, Jesse Bogdonoff, who had been referred to as “court jester”.
A constitutional amendment in October 2003 gave the king greater power and increased state control over the media.