“THE proposed amendment to Clause 50A of the Constitution of Tonga is to enable voters to elect the Prime Minister,” according to Tongatapu 5 MP.
Dr. ‘Aisake Eke introduced in Parliament this week a Private Member’s Bill for an Act to amend the Act of Constitution of Tonga No. 4/2013.
He adds in the current electoral process, voters elects 17 People’s Representatives and Parliament elects the Prime Minister.
Dr. Eke said from experience such process makes it hard for the Prime Minister to elect members to Cabinet.
He said the proposed Clause 50A (1) for the election of the Prime Minister is to take place within two weeks after the general election.
“It’s important for potential candidates vying for the position of Prime Minister to reveal to the nation their ambitions and visions for the country. And also to allow people a chance to have their say about their plan,” said Dr. Eke.
He added in the proposed Clause 50(4), Parliament is to finalize through ballot when there is a tie in the highest votes for the position of Prime Minister.
Dr. Eke said at the moment there are no specific grounds for a vote of no confidence motion against the Prime Minister.
In Clause 3 of the proposed Bill, Dr. Eke said the proposed ground for submitting a motion for a vote of no confidence are specified as evidence that would reasonably convince the Legislative Assembly that a law has been breached.
Other grounds specified in the Bill include “reviewing the PM’s inappropriate behavior that undermines the political stability and integrity of the current government. Or any offences described in Clause 75(1) of this Constitution has been committed by the PM or Cabinet,” according to Tongatapu 5 constituency MP.
Dr. Eke also emphasized the need for a caretaker government to operate when Parliament closes immediately before a general election.
“The current proviso provides for a caretaker administration to be in place after the announcement of the election results. The Finance Minister is responsible for administering of government’s expenditure at his own discretion.”
Dr. Eke said to limit the powers of caretaker government during the caretaking period the Constitution should be amended so Parliament could administer Government’s expenditure.
“Any Government unusual or unnecessary expenditure that maybe incurred should refer to Parliament or a Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly. Or any significant matter or major development that might affect Tonga’s economy.”