Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tonga: the first step on the road to democracy

Tonga's Prime Minister, Prince Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, resigned suddenly on Saturday. Rather than appointing his deputy, the Crown Prince (acting as regent) bypassed him and instead appointed Dr Feleti Sevele as Tonga's first commoner Prime Minister.

There's a long way to go yet. Constitutional conventions must be built and entrenched, and the Tongan Parliament needs to be reformed so it is truly democratic, rather than a noble-dominated gerrymander. But this move is a first step on that road, an affirmation of the vital principle that a Prime Minister must enjoy the confidence of the people, and that the source of their legitimacy is election rather than birth.


Very surprising... but good news for Tongan democracy.

Posted by Lewis Holden : 2/15/2006 07:59:00 AM