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Tonga’s defense and foreign ministers resigned Thursday following a months-long constitutional crisis resulting from the country’s monarch clashing with the elected government, Agence France-Presse reported.

Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni announced he would give up his role as defense minister, while his top ally Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu said she would resign her foreign affairs and tourism posts.

Sovaleni told parliament that the resignations followed King Tupou VI’s abrupt withdrawal of “confidence and consent” for appointments to three key ministries. The monarch did not provide a reason, but observers suggested that his withdrawal was part of a power play between Tonga’s hereditary royals and the political class.

Tonga has been a constitutional monarchy since the late 19th century and claims to be the only remaining indigenous monarchy in the Pacific. The monarch’s power was reduced following amendments and democratic reforms in 2010.

Initially, the prime minister refused to comply with King Tupou’s demands. Meanwhile, the nation’s attorney-general claimed the king’s move was unconstitutional.

Sovaleni’s resignation came after a series of debates in parliament and allegations that he insulted the king.

Tonga is an archipelago that is home to about 100,000 people.

The United States opened an embassy in the country’s capital last May, amid growing competition with China for influence in the Pacific islands, Al Jazeera added.

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