25 Nov 2010

Voting is underway in Tonga

9:57 am on 25 November 2010

Voting has begun in Tonga with a steady stream of people at a voting booth in the capital, Nuku'alofa.

For the first time, Tongans are voting for 17 of the 26 MPs, with the 33 noble families choosing nine nobles representatives.

Richard Pamatatau reports from Nuku'alofa.

"Poll officials are expecting crowds to build up over the next hour. Officials are checking ID cards before people vote, the centre for outer island voters, near the Centenary church in Nuku'alofa, has a festive atmosphere. The police officer at the Kolomotua hall says people are orderly and many are bringing in elderly relations before the crowds start."