12 Nov 2010

Tonga campaigner standing to keep reform on track

8:07 am on 12 November 2010

A long time advocate for democratic change in Tonga, Lopeti Senituli, says the desire to keep the ongoing reform process on track was the main prompt for him to contest a seat in this month's elections.

Tonga goes to the polls in two weeks to select the majority of its MPs for the first time.

Mr Senituli, who gave up his job as advisor to the Prime Minister so he could run, says it's important ahead of any further reforms that all the country is on the same page.

He says for instance the nobility has concerns it could be shut out of decision making over land and that's why it wants amendments to the Constitution and the Land Law Act.

Mr Senituli says they want to ensure the land tenure system is not destabilised by majority rule.

"Because the current land tenure system dates back for almost 120 years and that has provided the average Tongan the autonomy that no other Pacific island country enjoys."