Motion of Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister
Nuku’alofa, Tonga (10 December 2020) – Parliament held its last meeting for the year 2020 today. One Annual Report was passed and 7 Bills enacted into law by the House during today’s sitting, being Bills that were referred to the Standing Committees for vetting and scrutiny. The House is now adjourned to 12 January 2021.
Motion Number 2/2020: A Motion for Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister was distributed to Members of Parliament today. The Motion was submitted to the Office of the Lord Speaker, Lord Fakafanua, on Wednesday 9 December 2020 by Hon. Semisi Sika, People’s Representative for Tongatapu 2. A total of 10 Members of Parliament had signed the motion. Clause 50B(2) of the Constitution allows a Motion of Vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister to be brought in the House, provided it is submitted after 18 months from the date of the general election. The 18 months period is complete as the last general election was held in November 2017, thus allowing this motion to be submitted.
When the Speaker receives such a motion, there is a timeframe stipulated in clause 50B(2)(a) of the Constitution and the House’s Rules of Procedures, which specifies the time such a motion can be tabled at a meeting of the Assembly. The Motion cannot be tabled on the House’s agenda until at least 5 working days has lapsed, but no more than 14 working days after it has been received. The
Lord Speaker has interpreted “working days” (pursuant to his power under Rule 1(2) of he Rules of
Procedures) to exclude national public holidays, Government’s approved Christmas holiday at the end of the year (21 December 2020 to 1 January 2021), and weekends. As such, the tentative date set by the Speaker for the Motion to be tabled with the House is at its next meeting on 12 January 2021.
In preparation for the Motion being tabled with the House at its next meeting, the Speaker has referred it to the Standing Committee for Privileges for the standard vetting procedure to ensure it complies with the Rules. The Speaker also extended to the Hon. Prime Minister an opportunity to submit a reply to the motion, which if he chooses to provide, will also be referred to the same Standing Committee for vetting. The motion and reply will be tabled together to Parliament.
ISSUED BY THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA
Tonga Legislative Assembly. P.O Box 901, Nuku’alofa Tonga. Tel. (676) 24455 Fax