Tonga’s life peers now able to become noble MPs
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.