Traditionally the Speaker of the House was appointed by the King from the Nobles of the Realm. Since the Political Reforms and the 2010 election, the Speaker of the House is to be eleted only from the Lords in the House. The Speaker performs a large number of functions which are defined by the Constitution, but fall roughly into three categories:
- Power to rule, determine and punish members for all issues that arise in the House
- Power to control the Office of the Legislative Assembly and it's officers and
- the power to have the casting vote when votes are equal.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga - Lord Fakafanua
Since July 2012, Lord Fakafanua, Noble Representative No. 1 Ha'apai was elected by the House as Speaker succeeding Lord Lasike.
The Lord Fakafanua (Fatafehi Kinikinilau Lolomana‘ia Fakafanua), is one of thirty-three hereditary estate holders of the Tongan Nobility. Son of the Late Fakafanua (Tutoatasi Fakafanua) and Her Royal Highness Princess ‘Ofeina, the Lord Fakafanua was bestowed with the title Fakafanua on the 24th of April 2006. Lord Fakafanua's estates include Ma'ufanga (Tongatapu) and Faleloa (Ha'apai).
Lord Fakafanua's political career began when he was elected as representative for Ha'apai, during the April 2008 general elections, and again re-elected in November 2010.
On 19 July 2012, Lord Fakafanua became the youngest incumbent to be elected as Speaker of the Tongan Legislative Assembly following Lord Lasike's removal from office.