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Tonga Government Profile 2018

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Country nameconventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
local long form: Pule'anga Fakatu'i 'o Tonga
local short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands
etymology: "tonga" means "south" in the Tongan language and refers to the country's geographic position in relation to central Polynesia
Government typeconstitutional monarchy
Capitalname: Nuku'alofa
geographic coordinates: 21 08 S, 175 12 W
time difference: UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in November; ends second Sunday in January
Administrative divisions5 island divisions; 'Eua, Ha'apai, Ongo Niua, Tongatapu, Vava'u
Independence4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
National holidayOfficial Birthday of King TUPOU VI, 4 July (1959); note - actual birthday of the monarch is 12 July 1959; 4 July (2015) is the day the king was crowned; Constitution Day (National Day), 4 November (1875)
Constitutionadopted 4 November 1875, revised 1988; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)
Legal systemEnglish common law
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Tonga; if a child is born out of wedlock, the mother must be a citizen of Tonga
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage21 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: King TUPOU VI (since 18 March 2012); Heir Apparent Crown Prince Siaosi Manumataogo 'Alaivahamama'o 'Ahoeitu Konstantin Tuku'aho, son of the king (born 17 September 1985); note - on 18 March 2012, King George TUPOU V died and his brother, Crown Prince TUPOUTO'A Lavaka, assumed the throne as TUPOU VI
head of government: Interim Prime Minister 'Akilisi POHIVA (since 30 December 2014); note - King TUPOU VI dissolved the parliament on 26 August 2017
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister indirectly elected by the Legislative Assembly and appointed by the monarch; election last held on 18 December 2017 (next to be held in November 2021); note - King TUPOU VI's dissolution of parliament in August 2017 triggered an early election
election results: 'Akilisi POHIVA (Democratic Party of the Friendly Islands) reelected prime minister by parliament receiving 14 of 26 votes
note: a Privy Council advises the monarch
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (26 seats; 17 people's representatives directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 9 indirectly elected by hereditary leaders; members serve 3-year terms)
elections: last held on 16 November 2017 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 14, nobles' representatives 9, independent 3
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and a number of judges determined by the monarch); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are brought before the King in Privy Council, the monarch's advisory organ that has both judicial and legislative powers
judge selection and term of office: judge appointments and tenures made by the King in Privy Council, judge appointments subject to consent of the Legislative Assembly
subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Magistrate's Courts; Land Courts
Political parties and leadersDemocratic Party of the Friendly Islands [Samuela 'Akilisi POHIVA]
People's Democratic Party or PDP [Tesina FUKO]
Sustainable Nation-Building Party [Sione FONUA]
Tonga Democratic Labor Party
Tonga Human Rights and Democracy Movement or THRDM
Political pressure groups and leadersHuman Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA]
Public Service Association or PSA [Finau TUTONE]
International organization participationACP, ADB, AOSIS, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, SPC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Mahe'uli'uli Sandhurst TUPOUNIUA (since 17 September 2013)
chancery: 250 E. 51st Street, New York, NY, 10022
telephone: [1] (917) 369-1025
FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the USthe US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the US Ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
Flag descriptionred with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner; the cross reflects the deep-rooted Christianity in Tonga; red represents the blood of Christ and his sacrifice; white signifies purity
National symbol(s)red cross on white field, arms equal length; national colors: red, white
National anthemname: "Ko e fasi `o e tu"i `o e `Otu Tonga" (Song of the King of the Tonga Islands)
lyrics/music: Uelingatoni Ngu TUPOUMALOHI/Karl Gustavus SCHMITT
note: in use since 1875; more commonly known as "Fasi Fakafonua" (National Song)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018