Tonga’s life peers now able to become no­ble MPs

Fiji Sun - - Pacific News - RNZI

Nuku’alofa: A late change to Tonga’s elec­toral law means that life peers can now stand as no­ble can­di­dates in the up­com­ing elec­tion on Novem­ber 16.

From 2008, the late King Tupou V be­gan in­vest­ing men with life peer­ages in recog­ni­tion of their ser­vices to the na­tion.

In pre­vi­ous elec­tions the life peers were able to vote for no­ble MPs but they were not al­lowed to con­test. The act­ing At­tor­ney-Gen­eral ‘Amini­asi Kefu said the law didn’t fit the con­sti­tu­tion which said ev­ery no­ble should be able to vote and stand as rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“Life peers have the same sta­tus as no­bles, they are deemed as no­bles of the realm but the reg­u­la­tions in 2010 stated that the life peers, who are no­bles, can only vote but can­not be elected. So this was mainly to amend what was on the face of the law, was a clear in­con­sis­tency with the con­sti­tu­tion,” Mr Kefu said.

How­ever, he says the life peers would not be tak­ing ad­van­tage of the law change.

“There’s a glar­ing in­con­sis­tency,” he said.

Tonga cur­rently has five life peers – Lord Tangi, Lord Sevele, Lord Ma­toto, Lord Tupou and Lord Dal­gety.

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