Tongans encouraged to vote in election

Margret Wilson QC, chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) to Tonga's National Parliamentary Elections this year made the plea after being elected to lead the COG.

In a statement Ms Wilson said their task as observers is to consider all factors relating to the credibility of the electoral process as a whole.

"Accordingly, we are charged with observing and evaluating the pre-election period, the poll, the count and the declaration of the results," Ms Wilson said.

Vaea says Tongan MPs need to act, not talk

The elections were called a year earlier than scheduled after the King dissolved Parliament in August, due to concerns about the conduct of the government.

Lord Vaea hopes to be re-elected into one of the nine seats set aside and voted for by the 33 hereditary nobles and five life peers.

RNZI reports the remaining 17 seats are popularly elected.

Vaea, who Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva once referred to as the unofficial 'Leader of the Opposition', said whoever made it into the house needs to make sure legislative action occurs rather than just talk.

Tonga's Pohiva expected to retain parliamentary seat

'Akilisi Pohiva's tenure was cut short in August when the King dissolved parliament amid allegations the government had been acting unconstitutionally.

Mr Pohiva had been criticised for his leadership style but survived a motion of no-confidence.

Kalafi Moala, who runs the Taimi Media Network, said Mr Pohiva's constituency had the most candidates this election.

He said Mr Pohiva may still have enough support to return to parliament but not to the prime ministership.

NZ gives aid for Tongan election

Radio Tonga said the local government requested the funding from New Zealand.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga, Sarah Walsh, said the funding would go towards the printing of the electoral roll and ballot papers, public awareness, travel and training for election officials and the venue hire for polling stations.

The Supervisor of Elections, Pita Vuki, said they were finalising paperwork to be distributed to the outer islands next week.

Voting is due to take place on November 16.


Push for more women in Tonga's general election

Nominations for candidates open on Wednesday and Thursday and 57,000 people have already enrolled to vote. 

PRN reports Tonga Chamber of Commerce Vice-chair, Aloma Johansson, hopes women voters will endorse and vote for women candidates.

"There are a number of women standing across the country," she says. "Now it's up to the voter and I'm hoping women, who make up over half of the voting population, will acknowledge that there are women who can not only represent their interests but also the interests of the country."


Photo via PRN/UNDP 

Tonga's life peers now able to become noble MPs

From 2008, the late King Tupou V began investing men with life peerages in recognition of their services to the nation.

In previous elections the life peers were able to vote for noble MPs but they were not allowed to contest.

The acting Attorney-General 'Aminiasi Kefu said the law didn't fit the constitution which said every noble should be able to vote and stand as representatives.

Tonga ready for election, says attorney general

Tongans will head to the polls in November after the King's sudden decision to dissolve parliament, which is being seen as an effective vote of no confidence in the government of the Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

'Aminiasi Kefu said the country had the resources to arrange an election at short notice, and the sudden nature of this year's election should prove no impediment.

"I don't suspect there would be a lot of difficulty," he said.

How Europe's elections could be hacked

France, Germany and the Netherlands are holding elections later this year, and experts agree with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden that Moscow will try to sway the results.

The voting infrastructure is expected to be relatively secure since all three countries use paper ballots.

But here's how Russian hackers (and others) could influence the outcome:


Phishing for dirt

What Trump tax report could mean for his campaign

The revelations threatened to put the controversy over Trump's refusal to follow recent precedent and release his tax returns at the center of the presidential campaign less than 40 days before the election, after a week in which the Republican nominee has struggled to bounce back from a debate in which most analysts and scientifically conducted polls scored Clinton as the winner.

Tony Abbott rules out same-sex marriage vote on election day

After a special Coalition party-room meeting on Tuesday rejected proposals to give members a free vote on the issue, the prime minister pledged to take it to the people, through a plebiscite or referendum.

On Sunday, he ruled out holding a public poll at the same time as the federal election.