Author: Jon Fraenkel, Victoria University of Wellington
In a perfunctory decree on 25 August, Tonga’s King George Tupou VI exercised his constitutional right to dissolve his country’s parliament. He gave no reason, but acknowledged having received the advice of the speaker, Lord Tu’ivakano. Yet this was no ordinary dissolution to bring a peaceful end to the life of a parliament. The purpose, as Tu’ivakano expanded, was to terminate a government that had allegedly ‘trespassed on the King’s powers’.