20 Oct 2010

Around 170 candidates expected to register for Tonga election

2:12 pm on 20 October 2010

The supervisor of elections in Tonga expects about 170 candidates to register to contest the country's historic poll on November the 25th.

Tonga is embracing a more democratic form of government with the majority of MPs to be elected by the people for the first time.

Don Wiseman has more:

"17 of the 26 MPs are to be popularly elected, up from the nine in the present assembly. Registration will take place over the next two days and the elections supervisor, Pita Vuki, says they will know by Friday night just who is standing. Based on indications so far he expects about ten candidates on average in each seat. Mr Vuki says the candidates have to make a non-refundable registration payment of just over 200 US dollars, get a certificate from the courts giving them clearance to stand, and need to live and be registered in the electorate in which they intend standing. Mr Vuki says candidates can spend just over 5000 US dollars on promoting themselves and will need to submit a financial statement straight after the poll to show they've complied. Failure to keep within the limits could cost a successful candidate his or her seat."