10 Oct 2017

Independent candidate can see party politics in Tonga

6:57 am on 10 October 2017

A former Tongan cabinet minister says he is standing as an independent in next month's elections but can see party politics emerging in the near future.

2015 Tonga finance minister 'Aisake Eke

2015 Tonga finance minister 'Aisake Eke Photo: UN/YoutubeChannel

'Aisake Eke served as finance minister in successive governments before being sacked by prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva for abstaining in a vote of no-confidence against Mr Pohiva.

Dr Eke had been named as one of a number of candidates affiliated to a new grouping, Langafonua 'a e Masiva, which includes former democratic party members 'Isi Pulu and Sunia Fili.

But he said he remains independent and will do so until political parties are officially brought in.

Dr Eke said he can see that happening within the next couple of elections, with Tonga able to learn from other countries in the region.

"All the countries in the Pacific, except Tonga and Kiribati who haven't had a formal system for political parties, (they are the only two countries in the Pacific), so we can learn from what actually happened or has actually occurred and then form the basis of political party system that is appropriate for us," he said.

"That will be the next stage of our political development."

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