21 Dec 2010

Tongan MPs now due to vote for prime minister this morning

9:40 am on 21 December 2010

Tonga's election of the prime minister is set to resume about now after delays yesterday.

The country's MPs are voting for the prime minister for the first time, with two candidates, the Noble Tu'ivakano and pro-democracy leader, Akilisi Pohiva, competing for the role.

Don Wiseman has more.

"There were expectations the vote would've been completed yesterday but King George Tupou the 5th, who is constitutionally bound to see the result of the secret ballot before anyone else, notified the acting speaker that he wasn't in a position to do so last evening. So Lord Tupou put off the ballot until ten this morning. Most of the speakers in parliament yesterday were in support of Mr Pohiva, while he himself spoke of his long experience in Tongan politics and how he could help the country toward full democracy. Noble Tu'ivakano spoke of the need for the executive and parliament to work together in this new era in Tongan politics. There was unprecedented interest in yesterday's sitting with Lord Tupou opening up parliament to the media and public, while there was also a strong police presence, supplemented, for the first time since the riots four years ago, by soldiers."