Dissolution of Tongan parliament 'legal and valid'

Tonga's Attorney General is defending King Tupou VI's decision to dissolve parliament, even though he remains in the dark about why he did.

Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva's government will continue to function, but only in a caretaker role until early elections take place.

It's unprecedented in Tonga's history, but government officials say the King's direction is final.

"Yes, it's legal and valid and we have to implement that decision," Acting Attorney General Aminiasi Kefu told Newshub.

The decision is based on the personal Royal Prerogative of His Majesty, and cannot be challenged in court.

Exactly what led to that remains unclear, but Noble MP Lord Vaea believes it's the result of numerous complaints about Mr Pohiva, who came into power promoting democracy and transparency.

"Here is the expectation of a guy who has been telling everybody this is how we should be, and once he gets on to the leadership role he has failed to perform in that line," he said.

Lord Vaea claims controversial changes to the education system, financial mismanagement and cancelling the Pacific Games are key reasons the King intervened.

But Mr Pohiva rejects that, telling Newshub it's part of an attempted coup and planned move to force him out.

"Of course it is a setback [for democracy]," he said.

He's confident he'll be back and says he has the support, but whether Mr Pohiva retains his role will ultimately be up to the people.

They have the next move, with early elections called for November. But many say they're confused about what's transpired.

"Everybody is surprised. They want to know why," resident Vasiti Mafi said.

"The King loves his people and I think the decisions that were running through the government... he didn't like it," resident Sam Cami said.

Under the constitution, the King does not have to give a reason for his decision.

Mr Pohiva's term in government would have ordinarily lasted until next year. Now it's possible he'll be gone in just over a couple of months.