Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1349476
 


 



Testing Tradition in Tonga: Approaches to Constitutional Change


Guy Powles


Monash University - Faculty of Law

February 26, 2009

Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007/27
Revue Juridique Polynesienne, Vol. 13, p. 111, 2007

Abstract:     
The Constitution of Tonga, 132 years old in 2007 -- indeed one of the world's oldest extant constitutions -- has recently, for the first time in history, been subjected to significant scrutiny by the people who live under it. The review process has also canvassed the views of the thousands of Tongans who live in the diasporas of New Zealand, Australia and the USA. However, in the context of an increasingly polarised political debate, the translation of the outcome of that process into constitutional change is proving a difficult task for Tonga's leaders, and the two years that have elapsed since the general elections of March 2005 have been among the most momentous in history.

This paper attempts to stand back from the trauma and hurt of recent events and to ask some underlying questions. How is it that the Pacific region is home to a monarchical system that still rules its people, and what has been the secret of its success? What are the changes to the political structure that are already occuring this century? FInally, what order of change is int the air -- will it be constitutional reform on a major scale?

While considering these questions, this paper also offers a Political Chronology in its Appendix, as a summary of the events through the 1990s and early 2000s which culminated in the formal process of constitutional reform and the current scene. These years have witnessed diverse developments on the Tongan political stage, which, when considered against the backdrop of conservative society, must be regarded as remarkable.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: Tonga, constitutional change, monarchy, constitutional law, reform

JEL Classification: K0, K00, K19, K33, K49

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: March 4, 2009 ; Last revised: April 15, 2009

Suggested Citation

Guy Powles, Testing Tradition in Tonga: Approaches to Constitutional Change (February 26, 2009). Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007/27; Revue Juridique Polynesienne, Vol. 13, p. 111, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1349476

Contact Information

C. Guy Powles (Contact Author)
Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 974
Downloads: 121
Download Rank: 138,879

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.360 seconds