Tongan Prime Minister dies in Auckland

Tonga's prime minister who nurtured democracy dies at 78

Tonga's Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva dies aged 78

Tonga's prime minister, a long-time democracy campaigner, Akilisi Pohiva, died Thursday in an Auckland hospital a day after being airlifted from the Pacific kingdom to receive treatment for pneumonia, local media reported.

Mr Pohiva was medically evacuated from the capital, Nuku'alofa, yesterday afternoon to a hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex met with Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva in October 2018.

The 78-year-old had suffered from ill health for years and his office issued a statement Wednesday urging people to pray for him.

However, he maintained support among the people who repeatedly voted him into the Tongan parliament after he was first elected in 1987, making him the longest-serving people's representative.

That came in 2008, when King George Tupou V gave over many responsibilities to the parliament and the government, clearing the way for Pohiva's eventual prime ministership. Constitutional changes eventually cleared the path for Mr Pohiva to become prime minister in 2014, before he was re-elected in 2017.

PM Pohiva had been diagnosed earlier this year with a liver complication and he successfully underwent a medical procedure at Mercy Hospital in Auckland.

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