June 1, 2020

XV Tongan premier dies in office

Thursday, 12 September 2019, Auckland, Realm of New Zealand: Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva passed away aged 79 whilst in hospitalisation. 

He had served as the Kingdom of Tonga’s second elected head of government since 30 December 2014, and only fourth commoner to hold the office. Moreover he was the country’s longest serving MP. 
Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva born on 7 April 1941, had distinguished himself for being a fervent defender of democracy to the detriment of regal power, and the privileges of the nobles. Indeed he was imprisoned in 1996 for “contempt of parliament”. 

Politician Semisi Sika serves as Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs before elections are held, or parliament votes for a new head of government. 

His remains are due to arrive in Tonga on Tuesday, 17 September, via a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft, and shall lie-in-state at the St George Building in the country’s capital Nuku’alofa, so the Tongan people and foreign delegations may pay their respects.

A state funeral and memorial service will take place on Thursday, 19 September at the Free Wesleyan Centenary Church. The date has been declared a public holiday, and a national day of mourning.

For further information 


Picture Akilisi Pōhiva – Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General, ©ITU, R.Farrell through cc-by-2.0 Wikipedia licence

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