Thursday, December 02, 2010

Danger in Tonga

Things seem to be going off the rails already in Tonga. Last week, the people voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Democratic Party, giving them 12 of the 17 popularly elected seats. But now it looks like there's a real danger of the nobles, who have nine seats to represent 36 people, vetoing the people's choice and supporting another people's representative as Prime Minister to keep the democrats out of power.

The damage to Tongan democracy from such a move would be enormous. Tongans have fought for twenty years for democratic government, and seemed to be on the verge of achieving it with these elections. To have victory snatched from their grasp by the unequal voice given to a clique of 36 privileged inbreds would be absolutely intolerable, a sign that peaceful reform had failed. And the results of that might not be pleasant.