Tonga elections

Tonga's by-election: 2 high-profile candidates vie for seat

Mr Pohiva, who died in September, had held the Tongatapu No1 seat for 32 years.

The by-election will be held on 28 November.

Noted scientist Netatua Prescott Taufatofua is competing against Mr Pohiva's eldest son, Saiosi for the seat.

She said there was a lot of talk of good governance and accountability but those principles were not always respected by members of parliament.

Tongan MPs push cases for PM candidates

'Akilisi Pohiva, whose reign was shortened by the August dissolution of parliament by the king, is up against his former deputy, Siaosi Sovaleni.

Mr Pohiva's democratic party won 14 seats in the subsequent November election giving him a slight majority in the 26 seat House.

So far there is no indication of any member of his party crossing the floor to support Mr Sovaleni, who was the third highest polling candidate in the election, although speeches are continuing and voting will be done in secret.

Process to elect Tonga PM to begin shortly

The interim speaker, Lord Tangi, can now invite the successful candidates from the November 16 election to submit nominations for prime minister.

The soon to be sworn in MPs have two weeks to submit their nominations to Tangi before a secret ballot is held within another three more days of that deadline.

Before the ballot, nominees are given a chance to speak and other MPs may speak in support of their respective candidate.

Tangi will report the result to the palace before the Prime Minister designate is summoned to be appointed by the King.

PIF observers commend Tonga Electoral Commission for successful election

Team leader Wilson Waguk, who is the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia to Fiji, said they are pleased to offer their congratulations to the commission.

“Even though the Commission had a shorter time to prepare due to the snap elections, we are of the view that the Electoral Commission delivered a free and credible election. We equally recognise the contribution by other Government agencies and the voting public toward the success of the election.

Noble says Tongan MPs need to work together

Lord Fusitu'a won one of the nine seats set aside for the 33 hereditary nobles.

The snap election was the result of the royal dissolution of parliament which came after the then Speaker Lord Tu'ivakano approached the King about concerns he held over the government's conduct.

Lord Fusitu'a said parliamentarians can learn from the last few years.

Tonga's Civil Society says public is engaged in election

The election comes a year earlier than scheduled after the King dissolved parliament around concerns about the conduct of the government.

Siale 'Ilolahia said this may have led to a voting public becoming more engaged than in the past.

She also said candidates were taking airwaves, to the streets in floats, and pushing their messages more than ever before.

Ms 'Ilolahia said people were starting to think more about the consequence of their votes.

Observers say Tongan election build-up positive

Former New Zealand cabinet minister Margaret Wilson, is leading the first ever Commonwealth Observer team to the country.

The election comes a year earlier than scheduled after August's dissolution of parliament by the King over concerns about the conduct of government.

Ms Wilson said the interim Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva requested the mission.

She said despite the unique manner in which the election was brought about, the team has had good feedback from meetings with various community leaders.

Former NZ Attorney General to lead Tonga election observer group

The team includes Nauru's Electoral Commissioner Joseph Cain, Fiji's Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem and a human rights lawyer from Swaziland Lomcebo Dlamini.

RNZI reports the Commonwealth Observer Group will be in Tonga from today until 20 November.

The election is being held next Thursday.

Official observers from the Pacific Islands Forum and the US Embassy in Suva will also be watching the election.


Tongan voters focused on grassroot issues

This week a former head of the state broadcaster expressed concerns the public was missing out on election issues because of the canning of a national talkback show and the sidelining of prominent journalists at the organisation.

But Kalafi Moala, who runs the Taimi Media Network, has been monitoring the campaign and says people are being informed in other ways.

"Many of the candidates are canvassing house to house, approaching people directly. One thing that I have noticed which is a major difference with this election compared to previous elections.

Candidate claims move to unseat ‘Akilisi Pōhiva by reducing candidate numbers is unlawful

Ana Bing Fonua, the candidate number six at the constituency says according to Section 9A of the Electoral Act, the official date for any candidate to withdraw their candidature ended on the first week of October, a week from nomination day.

She says she doubts the Election Office would allow any candidates to withdraw at this stage.

Fonua, who was CEO of the Ministry of Internal Affairs before quitting to run for Parliament, said she was unaware of the identity of the group.