Tonga PM resigns as defence minister after meeting with King, makes room for noble

Tonga’s Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni has reportedly stepped down from his defence portfolio to make way for a noble to assume the position.

Along with Hu’akavameiliku, Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Fekita ‘Utoikamanu has also reportedly resigned from her foreign affairs portfolio.

Sources in Nuku’alofa have told RNZ Pacific the decision to resign comes following a meeting between Hua’kavameiliku and a Cabinet team held with King Tupou VI in Niuafo’ou island earlier this month.

Earlier last month, Tonga’s Privy Council issued a directive that the King had lost confidence in Hua’kavameiliku and ‘Utoikamanu holding the defence and foreign ministry portfolios.

However, Hua’kavameiliku refused to step down after Attorney-General Linda Folaumoetu’i advised the him and Cabinet that the Privy Council’s letter stating that the King had revoked two ministerial appointments was unconstitutional.

Tonga’s acting prime minister Samiuela Vaipulu at the time said the government will resolve its differences with the King “the Pacific way”.

Hu’akavameiliku has reportedly sent a proposal to the King, recommending that Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, be appointed Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs.

According to the RNZ Pacific sources, there is also a likelihood of ministerial reshuffles.

The official announcements are expected to be made after a Privy Council meeting that will be chaired by the King on Thursday.

The King will then announce if he accepts the prime minister’s proposals.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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