A New Zealand academic, in Tonga to observe the election, says many people haven't grasped the implications of the political change the country is going through.
Tonga goes to the polls today to choose a mostly democratic assembly for the first time.
Canterbury University's Dr Malakai Koloamatangi says it became clear during the campaign that people haven't understood what could eventuate from the election and how it will impact on them.
He says while there had been civics education programmes in the lead up to polling day, more will be needed.
"But Tonga has been in a state of flux and has been for many, many decades now, in terms of political evolution, so I would have hoped that people would have been used to that kind of environment but obviously they are not, so a lot still has to be done after this election."
Canterbury University's Dr Malakai Koloamatangi.