Sitting Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva dies aged 78
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Tonga, died today at 10:00 a.m. Tongan time (2100 , yesterday) at the age of 78. Pohiva, who had been Tonga's prime minister since his election in 2014, was evacuated Wednesday afternoon from Tonga's capital, , to a hospital in , New Zealand, with pneumonia., the of
ABC reported that Pohiva received medical treatment in New Zealand for problems with his liver this year. In the wake of Pohiva's death, Tonga's parliament, the , was suspended indefinitely according to local media.
Pohiva was a long-time advocate for democratization in Tonga, The Guardian reported. When elected prime minister by the parliament in 2014, it was the first time they had elected a commoner to the office; historically, prime ministers were appointed by the . He first joined parliament in 1987, making him the longest serving member of Tonga's parliament. During that service, he was once jailed for contempt of parliament, in 1996, and was also changed with sedition in the aftermath of the in Nukuʻalofa.
Prior to joining parliament, Pohiva taught classes in sociology and history at the's campus in Tonga. In 2013, he became the first Pacific Islander to be awarded the 's Defender of Democracy Award.
- Kate Lyons. "Pacific mourns Tongan PM Akilisi Pohiva" — , September 12, 2019
- Liam Fox and Michael Walsh. "Tonga's Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva dies aged 78" — , September 12, 2019