30 Dec 2014

Major hurdles for new Tonga PM - academic

3:34 pm on 30 December 2014

A political scientist says Tonga's new prime minister, Akilisi Pohiva, will face obstacles in his efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the government.

Mr Pohiva, the first elected commoner to be become prime minister, won a vote in parliament on Monday and has been sworn this morning by King Tupou the 6th.

He campaigned on policies to bring more accountability to the way government conducts its business but he will need to achieve this with a bureaucracy established by generations of rule by the Tonga nobility.

Akilisi Pohiva

Akilisi Pohiva Photo: AAP (file)

The director of Massey University's Pasifika Centre, Malakai Koloamatangi, says he will certainly have some hurdles to clear.

"There will be obstacles in front of him, so he will certainly have some enemies. It is difficult to try and take over an administration that is not used to more open government. I think in terms of a bureaucracy that is used to a certain way of doing things, they will have to learn very quickly, if indeed that is what Pohiva wants, to become a bureaucracy that is based on democracy and more open government."