28 Nov 2014

12 new faces in next Tonga Parlt

2:38 pm on 28 November 2014

There will be 12 new MPs among the 26 members elected to Tonga's Legislative Assembly after Thursday's vote for both the nobles and people's representatives.

Eight of the nine nobles from the previous parliament have been returned with one of the two Ha'apai seats going to Lord Tuiha'agana in place of Lord Fakafanua.

The newcomers include the auditor general Pohiva Tu'ionetoa, and Siaosi Sovaleni, who was the chief executive of Tonga's Ministry of Public Enterprises.

16 of the 105 candidates were women, a record number for Tonga, but none was elected.

Four incumbents who had served as cabinet ministers during the previous parliament were dumped, though the finance minister, Aisake Eke in Tongatapu No 5, got back in with the highest number of votes cast of any electorate.

Veteran democracy campaigner Akilisi Pohiva, who was first elected in 1987, won easily in Tongatapu No 1.

He has indicated this will be his last term in parliament.