9 Dec 2010

Tonga's Democrats confident they'll govern despite rival's claim of numbers

8:22 pm on 9 December 2010

Tonga's Friendly Islands Democratic Party, which won the majority of people's representatives seats in last month's election, remains confident it will form the government.

Party leader, Akilisi Pohiva, has dismissed media reports that a rival group, built around the nine nobles who'll sit in the new parliament, has the backing of 15 of the 26 members.

One of that group went public claiming they had the numbers to govern but Mr Pohiva calls the information unreliable.

He says he's confident, based on the feedback the Democrats are getting, that they still have 13 MPs and that they will form the government.

"We still need one more but at this point of time, according to the information we have gathered so far, from the public, that would go up to 15."

Nominations for prime minister close next Thursday with Parliament due to sit from the next day, for several days, to select the country's leader.

That process will be a secret ballot.