1 Nov 2010

Huge numbers failed to register for Tonga election, says woman advocate

4:08 pm on 1 November 2010

A Tongan women's activist says as many as 40 percent of prospective voters will not be able to take part in the country's historic elections later this month.

Those eligible to vote were required to register in June, after the assembly passed the constitutional reforms allowing for the first time for a majority of MPs to be elected by the people.

But Ofa ki-Levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki of the Women's and Children's Crisis Centre says many failed to get their names on the list.

"I've spoken to quite a number of people, who are already talking about who they would like to vote for, and then when I smack them with the question 'are you registered', they say 'oh yes, I registered a long time ago'. So, you know, that thinking that they had already registered 10, 12 years ago, not knowing that this whole entire process required a new registration. Unfortunately, that core piece of information did not reach them."

Ofa ki-Levuka Guttenbeil Likiliki

However, her claim is disputed by the supervisor of elections, Pita Vuki, who says while some may have missed out, he is confident that they've got most people.

And says subsequent surveys appear to back that up.