Fears of violence in Tonga after King Tupou VI dismisses PM Akilisi Pohiva and dissolves Parliament

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For the first time in Tongan history a monarch has dismissed a Prime Minister and dissolved Parliament sparking fears of violence.

1 NEWS' Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver analyses King Tupou VI's sacking of Akilisi Pohiva.
Source: 1 NEWS

The now former Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva and his government now face new elections which must be held by November 16.

Pasifika Director at Massey University Dr Malakai Koloamatangi says given that the kingdom has been moving towards a more democratic government this is highly unusual.

He says in the past ministers have been dismissed but it's the first time it's happened on such a large scale and King Tupou VI must have good reason for doing so.

"Constitutionally he has the power to do it but usually under the advice of the Prime Minister."

Dr Koloamatangi says there is a very real fear of violence given that Akilisi Pohiva has a lot of support amongst the people.

Tongan King George Tupou VI.

Tongan King George Tupou VI.

Source: 1 NEWS

A lack of democracy was one of the main causes of riots in 2006 which resulted in the capital Nuku'alofa being torched.

Mr Pohiva, a former democracy activist, has been Prime Minister since 2014.

Of the 26 member parliament, 17 seats are democratically elected and the other nine are elected by Tonga's nobles.

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