24 Apr 2008

Polls are now open in Tonga

11:21 am on 24 April 2008

Voting is now underway in Tonga as people choose the 9 candidates who will represent them in the country's 30 seat Parliament.

Yesterday, 29 nobles elected nine representatives, with the King appointing the remainder of parliament and government ministers.

This is the last election before significant political change is expected in Tonga, where government and decision making is dominated by the King and nobility.

In 2006, a riot over slow progress in changing the political structure saw much of the capital, Nuku'alofa, burned and people killed.

A limited state of emegency is still in place in parts of Nuku'alofa.

The electoral supervisor is hoping for a 60 per cent turn out among the 67-thousand registered voters -- with results in by early tomorrow morning.