29 Oct 2010

Calibre of Tongan election candidates impresses political scientist

7:13 am on 29 October 2010

A political scientist says it's gratifying to see the quality of candidates lining up to contest next month's poll in Tonga.

On November the 25th Tongans will choose from 147 candidates lining up in 17 seats as the Kingdom embraces a greater degree of democracy.

Canterbury University's Dr Malakai Koloamatangi says there'd been predictions that not enough people of calibre would stand and that the new, more democratic, government would lack the skills to run the country.

"There was a feeling that whoever was elected might find it difficult to form a government with credibility. So the argument went that the effective people who were already in government under the old system. So there was a kind of discussion or concern that people elected into parliament might not be the same calibre but I am actually heartened by the candidates. We have very good people standing I think."