21 Apr 2010

Civics education vital ahead of Tonga election, says advocate

3:12 pm on 21 April 2010

Civics education is seen as vital ahead of new elections in Tonga in November.

The Legislative Assembly has enacted laws allowing for the majority of MPs to be elected by the people for the first time.

This means 17 MPs will be elected from single seat electorates instead of the present nine members from five electorates.

The Government has committed to holding an early poll on November the 25th under the new democracy laws, but Melino Maka of the New Zealand based Tonga Advisory Council says there is little time to ensure the people understand the change.

He says his organisation will be working with Tongan NGOs and the Centre for Citizenship Education in Wellington to provide programmes on voter awareness.

"It's a crucial part of this process. If you want changes that Tonga is talking about to be well received and also to be implemented in the country, citizenship education is a crucial part of that process."