Officially: Pule‘anga Fakatu‘i ‘o Tonga; Kingdom of Tonga.
English: Tonga.
Seat of government: Nuku‘alofa.
Status: Not democratic.
Structure: The king is hereditary. The legislature (Fale Alea) is partially elected in multi-member geographical constituencies, and partially chosen by the hereditary aristocracy, and chooses the prime minister.
Heads of government: ‘Akilisi Pōhiva, prime minister (since 2014); Tupouto‘a Lavaka (Tupou VI), king (since 2012).
Chief opposition party: Paati Temokalati ‘a e ‘Otu Motu ‘Anga‘ofa, led by .
Recent history: The penultimate king, Tāufa‘āhau Tupou IV, a rare autocrat in Oceania, had ruled since 1965. Pro-democracy protests, including riots, led to a promise by the régime for elections in 2008 for a majority of seats in parliament; in April elections, only nine of thirty-three seats were available through public election, with democracy campaigners winning all of them. Many campaigners, including six MPs, were indicted for the earlier protests. The king died in 2008 and was succeeded by his son, Siaosi (George) Tupou V, who had already been active in the régime. The Human Rights and Democracy Movement, a predecessor of the Paati Temokalati, was the first political party in Tonga; Feleti (Fred) Sevele (2006-10), the first commoner to serve as premier, was affiliated with HRDM. A statement at the time of the 2008 coronation claimed that the new king would withdraw from routine management of the government. In 2010, popular elections were held for seventeen of twenty-six seats in parliament; the PT won twelve of those. While parliament had then acquired the power to designate the prime minister, the PT, despite winning a majority of elected seats, did not have enough to choose the prime minister; Siale ‘Ataongo Kaho (Tu‘ivakanō, 2010-4), like the unelected MPs who chose him, was a hereditary title holder. The present king is the brother of his predecessor, who died in 2012. The PT won a bare majority of elected seats in a 2014 parliamentary election (the rest going to independents), but PT leader Pōhiva and longtime régime opponent won enough other votes to become prime minister.
FH: 5-3, partly free (not democratic).
Updated: 2015 April 25.