18 Mar 2005

Tongan MP highlights continued domination by nobility

2:28 pm on 18 March 2005

Tonga's Pro-Democracy movement has increased its presence in parliament following yesterday's elections, but the result leaves the majority of seats filled with nobles.

The Pro-Democracy movement has improved its majority with eight of the nine people's parliamentary seats, compared with seven in 2002.

And under a reform promised by the king, two commoners are to be appointed to the cabinet for the first time.

However, one of the three Pro-Democracy MPs re-elected in Tongatapu, Fred Sevele, says that with six nobles in cabinet and another nine elected representatives, the nobility has a heavy proportion of seats.

"So, you know, fifteen out of thirty members of the house, that's half, and there are only 28 or 29 noble title holders so it's skewered heavily in the favour of the nobility."

Re-elected MP Fred Sevele