Tongan Prime Minister `Akilisi Pohiva dies aged 78

Remigio Civitarese
Сентября 12, 2019

The Prime Minister's Media Adviser, Lopeti Senituli has confirmed to Kaniva News this morning the passing away of Mr Pohiva.

He had been in hospital in Nuku'alofa for the past two weeks but doctors decided he needed medical evacuation to Auckland.

Officials in Tonga could not be contacted and the country's embassy in New Zealand refused to comment on the reports.

But he maintained support among the people, who repeatedly voted him into the Tongan parliament after he was first elected in 1987, making him the longest-serving people's representative.

He was first elected as prime minister of the tiny Polynesian state in 2014 after decades of campaigning for democratic representation and reforms.

That came in 2008, when King George Tupou V gave over many responsibilities to the parliament and the government, clearing the way for Mr Pohiva's eventual prime ministership.

Radio New Zealand reported Mr Pohiva had spent much of this year in Auckland being treated for liver problems, and that he was suffering from pneumonia when he was flown to hospital yesterday.

The Tongan parliament has been deferred indefinitely as a result, media said.

Tongan authorities are yet to make public statements on Pohiva's death.

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