23 Apr 2008

First stage of Tonga's election begins today

6:00 am on 23 April 2008

The first stage of the election in Tonga begins today, when 33 nobles cast their votes to elect nine representatives to the country's 30 seat parliament.

The secretary of the powerful Tongan Culture and Tradition committee, Albert Vaea, says members of the country's nobility with political aspirations have been lobbying hard.

The Honourable Vaea says most of the nobles recognise political change is needed.

Most voters in Tonga go to the polls tomorrow.

The election supervisor, Peter Vuki, says it is crucial regular Tongan voters turn out, as only half of those eligible to vote did so at the last election.