25 Nov 2010

Tonga's king 'wants commoner as prime minister'

8:22 pm on 25 November 2010

Tonga's nobles say they want the country's next prime minister to come from the people's representatives.

Results in the country's election are due on Thursday evening, but the nine nobles chosen by the nobility have been revealed.

Parliament will be made up of 17 representatives elected by voters, out of a total of 26 MPs. The remaining nine are drawn from the nobility.

The nobles have reportedly revealed that it is the King's wish that a commoner become the next prime minister and they have to comply.

Voters went to the polls to chose a majority of parliamentarians in a country that has been dominated by the king and nobles.

The election was made possible by King George Tupou V divesting himself of some of his powers.

Outgoing prime minister Felete Sevele says people in Tonga are ready for political change.

Observers from the New Zealand government say the vote is important for Tonga as its political system develops.

The new government, whatever its shape, is to take power within six weeks.

Chief electoral officer Pita Vuki says this could happen during the Christmas break.