2 Nov 2010

Tonga candidate says parties needed for stable government

4:08 pm on 2 November 2010

An academic who's returned to Tonga to contest this month's elections says convincing the people of the need for political parties is vital if there's to be stable government.

Tonga doesn't officially have parties, though several are being formed.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua, who was with the Hawaii-based East West Centre, is contesting one of the Nuku'alofa seats under the banner of the Friendly Islands Democratic Party.

He says the new Parliament will still have a group of nine nobles and to counter that influence there's a need for a grouping of people who believe the country should move in a particular direction and voters should take this into consideration.

"We have to work together before. This is not a matter that we have to elect individual members to the House and after the election then they turn up and form a stable form of government. I don't believe in that. It is something we have to start before the election and this is what we are working on. This is a tough one as we have to convince the people that this is what the country needs in order to set up a more stable form of government."