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Tonga Government
Capital:
Nuku'alofa
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Tonga
conventional short form: Tonga
former: Friendly Islands
Government type:
hereditary constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions:
3 island groups; Ha'apai, Tongatapu, Vava'u
Independence:
4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 4 June (1970)
Constitution:
4 November 1875, revised 1 January 1967
Legal system:
based on English law
Suffrage:
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King Taufa'ahau TUPOU IV (since 16 December 1965)
note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the Cabinet, and two governors
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed for life by the monarch
cabinet: Cabinet, appointed by the monarch, consists of 12 members
head of government: Prime Minister Prince Lavaka ata ULUKALALA (since NA February 2000) and Deputy Prime Minister James C. COCKER (since NA January 2001)
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea (30 seats - 12 reserved for cabinet ministers sitting ex officio, nine for nobles selected by the country's 33 nobles, and nine elected by popular vote; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 7 March 2002 (next to be held NA 2005)
election results: percent of vote - HRDMT 70%; seats - HRDMT 7, traditionalist 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch); Court of Appeal (consists of the Privy Council with the addition of the chief justice of the Supreme Court)
Political parties and leaders:
there are no political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Human Rights and Democracy Movement Tonga or HRDMT [Rev. Simote VEA, chair]
International organization participation:
ACP, AsDB, C, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OPCW, PIF, Sparteca, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sonatane T. T. TUPOU
chancery: 250 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (917) 369-1025
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
FAX: [1] (917) 369-1024
Diplomatic representation from the US:
the US does not have an embassy in Tonga; the ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tonga
Flag description:
red with a bold red cross on a white rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner
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