28 Oct 2014

More Tongan women to contest poll

12:27 pm on 28 October 2014

Sixteen women are to contest next month's elections in Tonga, up from 11 last time, but women leaders had hoped there might be more following a recent mock parliament.

Nominations closed on Friday with the total number of candidates down considerably at 106 compared with 144 in 2010.

The mock parliament in July aimed to introduce women to the political system in an effort to overcome barriers to their participation.

The director of the Women's and Children's Crisis Centre, Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki, says there are still high points, including 3 women among the 8 candidates in Tongatapu One - the seat held by Democratic Party leader, Akilisi Pohiva.

She says there are also some surprises with women standing in the outer islands.

Prime Minister's office, Tonga

Prime Minister's office, Tonga Photo: Supplied

"Although we didn't have as many female candidates as would have wished for, we are quite happy and content with those that have, you know, put their hand and taken this huge step."