Politics of Tonga

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of

Politics of Tonga takes place in a framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the King has the executive power. Tonga's Prime Minister is currently appointed by the King. Legislative power is vested in both the executive government and the Legislative Assembly.


Political conditions

For most of the 20th century Tonga was quiet, inward-looking, and somewhat isolated from developments elsewhere in the world. Tonga's complex social structure is essentially broken into three tiers: the king, the nobles, and the commoners. Between the nobles and commoners are Matapule, sometimes called "talking chiefs," who are associated with the king or a noble and who may or may not hold estates. Obligations and responsibilities are reciprocal, and although the nobility are able to extract favors from people living on their estates, they likewise must extend favors to their people. Status and rank play a powerful role in personal relationships, even within families.

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