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Tonga

Yearbook 2004

Tonga. According to CountryAAH, Prince Tu'ipelehake, Member of Parliament and relative of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, appealed in January to the Australian Foreign Minister to use his influence to promote democratic reforms in Tonga. In connection with a seminar organized by the opposition movement HRDM (Human Rights and Democracy Movement) in February, the prince emphasized the importance of dialogue between the people and the government. Tu'ipelehake's statements, unique to a member of the royal house, were adopted on the basis of the 2003 criticized constitutional amendments that restricted freedom of the press and the influence of the judiciary. He must also have appealed to the king to repeal the new laws.

2004 Tonga

In February, Tonga settled in favor with the King's oath, the American businessman who in 2001 forged $ 26 million from the country's treasury. The businessman agreed to pay Tonga $ 1 million.

In May, the country's airlines, which had long been facing major financial problems, were closed. Brunei's airline had then repossessed the only aircraft Tonga hired for its foreign service. Foreign companies, which already flew on Tonga, later also took over domestic flights. The closure of the airline led to reduced tourist revenue. Opposition HRDM accused the king and his son, Prime Minister Lavaka 'Ulukalala Ata, of the collapse. Seven of the nine elected MPs boycotted Parliament's opening at the end of May. They demanded the departure of the prime minister and accused him of wasting millions of dollars when he was chairman of the airline. The boycott was also a protest against the lack of democracy in the country and the opposition discussed various measures to force reforms.

In August, the Prime Minister dismissed three Ministers, among them the Minister of Justice, and replaced them with new ones. No explanation was provided for the measures, but they were assumed to be related to the constitutional amendments. In November, the government surprisingly announced that it planned to reform the political system to allow elected officials to join the government.

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