28 Nov 2010

Put democratic principles before the economy - MP

11:29 am on 28 November 2010

One of the highest-polling candidates in the election in Tonga, Sitivene Halapua, says the government must put in place sound democratic principles before it addresses the economy.

The Friendly Islands Democratic Party has won the first election in which ordinary people have more members of parliament than the nobility do.

Dr Halapua says the people voted for a party that will build political reform to secure strong government.

He says that means the focus has to be on looking at all the processes that will enable the new government to function well.

Radio New Zealand's Pacific issues correspondent says Dr Halapua's belief puts him at odds with party chairman Akilisi Pohiva, who regards the economy as the priority.