Tongan Prime Minister survives no-confidence vote

Tonga's Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva (AAP / file)
Tonga's Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva (AAP / file)

Tonga's Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva has survived a vote of no confidence in parliament on Monday afternoon.

Mr Pohiva, who has been Prime Minister for just over two years, was accused of incompetence and being frivolous with money by his opponents. 

However, he won't be forced out after votes by MPs were counted 14 to 10 in Mr Pohiva's favour. The push to remove Mr Pohiva has been led by Tonga's nobles, most of whom wanted him gone. 

The decision ends weeks of political squabbling and delays over the vote. 

Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, the Pasifika Director at Massey Univeristy, told Newshub despite the win, it's not a good look for Mr Pohiva and his administration. 

"He has the wrong temperament for Prime Minister and should be worried about the numbers [in Monday's vote]," he said.

Dr Koloamatangi said it's likely Mr Pohiva will face a renewed challenge in the coming months. 

The motion of no confidence accused the Prime Minister of nepotism by hiring his son as his personal assistant, wasting government money by paying US$150,000 to Forbes Magazine to publish an interview they did with him and damaging international relations with Indonesia by speaking out in support West Papua's struggle for freedom from military control. 

The allegations were made mainly by the country's nobles, but Mr Pohiva rejected the complaints. 

He came to power in 2014 as the country first democratically elected commoner, after spending three decades in opposition campaigning for greater democracy and transparency. 

Amid the political turmoil, Tonga is also preparing for the state funeral of the late Queen mother, Halaevalu Mata'aho, who will be laid to rest on Wednesday.