15 Mar 2005

Tonga political candidates make more use of the media, says editor

7:16 pm on 15 March 2005

The editor of Matangi Tonga magazine, Pesi Fonua, says candidates for this week's election in Tonga are making much greater use of the media than before.

On Thursday voters will choose nine members for the 30 member Assembly.

12 members of the Assembly are appointed, while on Wedneday the 33 noble families will choose nine members from within their ranks.

Pesi Fonua says the use of the media by the candidates for the popular vote is significantly different from previous elections.

"Like tonight, there would be someone speaking in a hall somewhere and everybody would be keen to go down and have a listen. But this election nothing like that really happened. I think what's happened is that candidates are now using the media a lot and there's been a little bit of a change in tactic."

Pesi Fonua also says the King's decision late last year to include two of the people's representatives in the Cabinet has had a impact on the campaign.