25 Nov 2010

Results from Tonga's nobles' election due shortly

4:31 pm on 25 November 2010

Voting in Tonga's historic election for a more democratic parliament is now drawing to a close with results from the 17 people's representatives' seats expected by mid evening.

The nine nobles seats were selected this morning by the 33 noble families and it's been revealed that the four recently appointed Law Lords were allowed to vote in that poll.

Our correspondent in Nuku'alofa, Richard Pamatatau, says the King's brother, the Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, is understood to have stood and could be a contender to become prime minister - a post he has held previously.

"People are talking about him as a very strong candidate to be the prime minister. It's very clear that if he wishes to be prime minister he will have the support of the nobility, who are in effect a party based on their social class, and then it's up for those nine nobles to lobby and get five votes from the ordinary citizens who are voted in by the ordinary citizens. There's talk that the horse trading will begin if that's the situation and people will offered key ministerial positions to thank them for their voting."

Richard Pamatatau in Nuku'alofa.

The result of the nobles' election is expected shortly.