Tonga is the last Polynesian Kingdom in South Pacific region with a constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister and deputy prime minister are appointed by the monarch. The cabinet consists of 14 members of whom 10 are selected by the monarch for life and the remaining four are appointed amongst elected representatives of the legislative assembly for a term of three years. The Privy Council of the country is comprised of the Monarch, the cabinet and two governors.
The Legislative Assembly (Fale Alea) is unicameral with 32 seats of which 14 are reserved for the cabinet ministers, 9 are nobles selected from among the 33 nobles and 9 are elected by popular vote to a three-year term.
(Source: estandardsforum.org, EIU)
There are no major political parties in the country, but the parties that hold seats in the parliament are:
· Human Rights and Democratic Movement
· The People's Democratic Party
Tonga’s economic freedom score is 55.8, making its economy the 118th freest in the 2011 Index. Tonga ranks 23rd out of 41 countries in the Asia–Pacific region. Tonga recorded one of the largest score gainer in the 2011 index.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Tonga is ranked 101st on this list with a score of 3.0. This indicates a high level of corruption prevails in the country.
Freedom of information
World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Tonga at 87th, with a score of 23.75 indicating the media in Tonga is moderately restricted. Most of the television and radio channels are owned by government of Tonga.
(Source: rsf.org, bbc.co.uk)
· Tonga Chronicle (state-owned)
· Times of Tonga (private)
· Matangi Tonga (private)
The judiciary system of the country is independent and derived from the english system. Local disputes are adjudicated by the village elders. The highest positions held by the judges are generally foreign nationals and judges cannot be dismissed during their terms.
Court system in the country is comprised of:
· Privy Council
· Court of Appeal
· Supreme Court
· Police magistrate's court
· Land Court.
The monarch’s Privy Council deals with the cases related to disputes regarding titles of aristocracy and estate boundaries and also hear appeals from the Land Court. Law in the country inhibits random arrests, detention and torture and these prohibitions are adhered. The police in the country have rights to arrest suspects without a warrant and the detainees are brought before a local magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. The trials in the country are public.