26 Nov 2010

Pro-democracy party in Tonga big winner in general elections

6:15 am on 26 November 2010

The Friendly Islands Democracy Party, headed by the veteran activist Akilisi Pohiva, has won 13 of the 17 seats in Tonga's general election set aside for ordinary citizens.

The remaining results for seats in the remote outer islands are expected today.

The country's Nobles, represented by nine of their members in the 26 seat parliament, say they want to work closely with the party to move the country forward.

Richard Pamatatau reports from Tonga.

"The emphatic win by Akilisi Pohiva and his team from a field of 146 candidates, including the outgoing deputy prime minister, an MP, and the former attorney general shows Tongans have voted for change. The senior noble, Lord Ma'afu says his group will support the democratic party if it puts a candidate up as prime minister. Lord Ma'afu says the only way forward for Tonga is for parties to work together and not scrapping over who should be prime minister is a good start."