Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Democracy fails in Tonga

Tongan MPs have finally met to elect a Prime Minister, and elected Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano by 14 votes to 12. This is a bad outcome. In order to be regarded as legitimate, Tonga's Prime Minister needed the support of a majority of people's representatives. Instead, he has the support of only a third (and almost all from the outer islands, so the 70% of Tongans who live on the main island of Tongatapu have no say in their own government). So why is he Prime Minister? Because he has the support of the nine noble representatives, who voted for one of their own rather than a "dirt eater". Those nine nobles, representing a mere 33 corrupt inbreds, get to overturn the wishes of the Tongan people and appoint one of their own as Prime Minister.

The result: Tonga's democracy is shown from its outset to be a sham, which will not result in the change people desire. And the consequences of that could be very unpleasant indeed.