Monday, November 22, 2010


Tonga is just two days away from the historic election which will provide the country with a Parliament that has a majority of domocratically elected members.  It's been a long time coming. 

For an excellent overview of what the election means please go to my friend Elena's blog here:
She has created some great visuals to illustrate the changes that are being made, and there's no way I could say it better.

Matangi Tonga, the online newspaper, has also just published a great article with good information about how the election will be conducted. All of the 17 districts have multiple candidates running and its anyone's guess who will win, but in every case it will be the top vote getter, meaning someone with as little as 20% of the vote in a district with eight or nine candidates could be elected.

Tonga does not have political parties, but some candidates have created coalitions.  The pro-democracy coalition attempted to field candidates for each of the districts, but the last I heard 2 had been dismissed from the coalition because of pending domestic violence charges, and another for some other reason.  There is a loose coalition focusing on women's issues (women cannot own land) and domestic violence.  One candidate is advocating legalizing marijuana.

As everywhere, campaigning consists of all manner of signs, from the handmade to the elaborate.  Enjoy this collection of signs around our neighborhood in Nuku'alofa.  I'll write another post about the results next week.