Cook Islanders get ready to go to the polls

Voters will have four parties, and a movement calling for a collegial approach to government, to choose from.

Cook Islands politics has been dominated for years by the Cook Islands Party led by the current Prime Minister Mark Brown - a man who is very confident of holding on to power.

He believes his government has done a very good job keeping the country together in very trying circumstances over the past two or so years.

There are 69 candidates in all contesting the poll, and one, marine scientist Teina Rongo, hopes this election will be third time lucky for him.

Tonga's Tu'i'onetoa loses second electoral petition

He, along with three current cabinet ministers, already has a stay on earlier election petition losses.

RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Tonga, Kalafi Moala, said, as with the first petition, this one involved the provision of water tanks to voters, but was brought by a different petitioner.

"Of course the provision of water tanks is a little bit more serious. It's not like you are giving a box of chicken or giving a little cash, a water tank is worth 10,000 pa,anga," he said.

Tonga noble seats announced

The nine MPs are chosen by members of their own ranks, and will govern alongside 17 representatives who are voted in by the people. 

2021 newly-elected Noble members of Parliament: 

Lord Vaea

Lord Tu’ivakano

Lord Fohe

Lord Nuku

Lord Tu’iha’angana

Lord Fakafanua

Lord Tu’iafitu

Lord Tu’ilakepa

Lord Fotofili

Last minute changes

One of Tonga's most promising politicians vacated his seat as the Noble for the two Niuas on medical grounds. 

Women shave heads in support of Tonga election candidate

One of the undated video clips which has been widely circulated on social media, features a man shaving off a woman’s hair according to Kaniva News.

A caption under a profile photo on Facebook by the name Losaline Fehoko Pakalani Matauvave, said:

“Just for you brother Paula Piveni Piukala”.

Another woman by the Facebook name known as Brian O’Driscoll Jr has her profile photo with her hair being shaved off.

Piukala, was the PTOA People’s Board party candidate.

Meanwhile, two candidates have pulled out of the election candidate list.

2021 Tonga Parliament session officially closed

It also marks the end of the current parliamentary term.

Three Nobles of the Realm, Lord Niukapu, Lord Ve’ehala and Lord Fohe delivered the closing speech from His Majesty, King Tupou VI. Lord Ve’ehala delivered the King’s closing remarks highlighted the many challenges that Tonga is now facing.

King Tupou VI was particularly concerned with the people’s safety from increasing illicit drugs related problems. It has specific devastating effects on the youth of the nation on whom we rely to build our country in the future.

Tonga PM election could surprise - Kalafi Moala

Members of parliaments gather for the first time since last month's snap election next Monday to choose from the incumbent 'Akilisi Pohiva and former deputy Prime Minister, Siaosi Sovaleni.

Sovaleni and the finance minister, Tevita Lavema'au were sacked by Mr Pohiva just before the election.

Pohiva's Democratic Party has 14 of the 26 seats in the legislature but commentator and publisher, Kalafi Moala, said the selection could go either way.

He said the Democratic Party links of some of its members are not rigidly fixed.

Tongan candidate calls for freedom of information legislation

Tevita Motulalo said previous governments had talked about such measures, where people could request information deemed for the public good, but none had implemented it in the house.

Mr Motulalo said it would help bring good governance into Tongan politics, which he said was currently divisive in nature.

He said at the moment information was scarce or came via leaks and rumours.

Fresh attempt today to elect New Caledonia president

The French territory has had a caretaker administration since August.

The French High Commissioner Thierry Lataste has summoned the new government ministers to elect a president in order to give New Caledonia a properly constituted government ahead of key referendum talks in Paris next week.

The only candidate so far, Philippe Germain, has been unsuccessful in getting majority support from the 11-member government.

Kingdom's snap election affects overseas Tongan potential candidates

Kaniva News reports the election date had been changed and Tongan voters will now go to the polls in two months’ time.

Tonga’s elections laws required all potential candidates who wanted to register to be in Tonga on a certain period of time before the election began.

This is what the law says:  “Provided that a person resident outside of Tonga who is qualified to be an elector will qualify as a candidate only if he is present in Tonga for a period of 3 months before the election.”

Did Justin Timberlake break a law while voting?

While the pop star lives in California, he flew home to Tennessee to take advantage of early voting in his hometown of Memphis.

Timberlake, who also owns property in Nashville, wasn't wearing a "Suit & Tie," but he still looked pretty adorable in the selfie he posted on Instagram of him about to cast his ballot Monday.

"Hey! You! Yeah, YOU! I just flew from LA to Memphis to #rockthevote !!! No excuses, my good people!," the singer/actor wrote in his post. "There could be early voting in your town too. If not, November 8th! Choose to have a voice!"