24 Oct 2017

Tongans searching for consensus on democracy - academic

8:30 am on 24 October 2017

A political scientist says Tonga is still searching for the right type of democracy and discussions taking place this week will help address that.

Massey University's Dr Malakai Koloamatangi

Massey University's Dr Malakai Koloamatangi Photo: Massey University

A National Dialogue on Democracy starts in Nuku'alofa tomorrow as the country prepares to go to the polls on November the 16th.

This comes after King Tupou VI dissolved the parliament and effectively sacked prime minister 'Akilisi Polhiva.

Everyone's been invited to take part in the dialogue which aims to take stock of the democratic reforms brought in under a new constitution in 2010.

One of the organisers, Malakai Koloamatangi of the Pasifika Research and Policy Centre in New Zealand says Tongans still need to develop a consensus on what sort of democracy they want.

"There is a general perception in Tonga about some sort of idea, a vague idea in many ways, of what a democracy would look like for Tonga. For example an elected parliament, more power to the people, transparency, accountability, but in terms of what a Tonga democracy looks like there is no consensus."

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