29 Nov 2010

Tonga Democrats success put down to understanding what the people wanted

4:45 pm on 29 November 2010

The deputy leader of the party which won most of the seats in last week's election in Tonga says the victory shows how eager the people were for change.

The Friendly Islands Democratic Party won 13 of the 17 seats.

One of its first time MPs is Dr Sitiveni Halapua who says the party did so well because the majority of the people had been looking for change for a long time.

He says there was a political sophistication in the electorate and the party respected the people's ability to make informed decisions about the nature of the change they wanted.

"I think other candidates tended to underestimate that. They campaigned on the old traditional way of promising that we would do this and we would do that whereas we were campaigning on the basis of our understanding that the people understand that we are moving from an old to a new system, and respect the people's ability and willingness to make that decision."