25 Oct 2010

Tonga election residency rules for candidates called draconian

8:27 pm on 25 October 2010

A political party in Tonga wants to overturn legislation passed earlier this year requiring candidates to meet residential qualifications if they want stand in elections.

Prospective MPs need to reside in Tonga for three of the six months immediately preceding a poll.

Auckland based Paula Lavulo of the Paati Langafonua says the law is unnecessary and draconian and should be thrown out.

"They have argued that the electorate should know you before they elect you to parliament but I think they are presuming what the electorate should know. We know very well our community. I know the electorate that I would have stood for. I grew up there. I worked in Tonga for 23 years before going overseas. So as far as I am concerned that argument doesn't hold up."

The Paati Langafonua will stand four candidates in the November 25th poll, including Auckland lawyer, Sione Fonua, who met the residency requirements.