Tonga. According to
Countryaah reports, Tonga's last parliamentary elections under the
current constitution were held in April. After pressure -
among other things during the demonstrations in November
2006 - the Government has promised that the next election,
2010, will be made in accordance with a new, democratic
constitution. The present Parliament consists of the
government and its about twelve members, nine nobles
appointed by the country's nobility, and nine members
appointed by universal suffrage. On April 23, the nobles
were appointed and on April 24 the general elections were
held. A total of 71 candidates competed for the nine popular
parliamentary seats. Six of the members retained their seats
and three new members were elected to Parliament. All nine
were democracy activists, four of whom came from the Human
Rights and Democracy Movement (HRDM), two from the
Democratic People's Party (PDP) and three were independent.
The turnout was only 48 percent.
Already at the end of July, certain steps were taken
towards a more democratic society. King George Tupou V
announced that the prime minister would now be able to
appoint a government, without interference with the royal
house. The prime minister would also take over the daily
work of governing the country, but the king would retain
some power, including the legal one. King George Tupou V
proposed that the number of elected members of parliament
should increase from nine to 17 for the promised more
democratic elections in 2010.
On August 1, King George Tupou V was crowned by the
Archbishop of Polynesia. The 60-year-old king took power as
early as September 2006 when his father died, but the formal
coronation was postponed, partly because of the democracy
demonstrations in November 2006.