Cleo Paskal spent much of August and September in the South Pacific nation of the Kingdom of Tonga, learning as much as she could in the lead up to its elections on November 25th. Mary Lyn Fonua of the Matangi Tonga interviewed Cleo about her visit. An excerpt (for the full interview, click here):
What was interesting for me was this very unique situation of having to think through many of the fundamentals of an electoral process from scratch. What do you do about term limits? What do you do about term lengths? What do you do about campaign financing? These are all critical, extremely important issues that other countries are still struggling with and they were all being dealt with at the same time; and on top of that it's fundamentally a foreign system. There are traditional government structures that have worked for a very long time, at the village level, at the church level. So the whole question of not only good governance but appropriate governance is all coming to a head here, now, and there are questions that are of universal importance anywhere human society has to govern itself. This is a unique place, and a unique time, and a unique set of circumstances for thinking about those sorts of issues.