8 Jul 2016

Tonga Govt can see women's political participation improving

5:09 pm on 8 July 2016

The Chief Executive of Internal Affairs in Tonga Ana Bing-Fonua says successful recent local body elections for women bode well for the national vote in 2018.

There are currently no women MPs in Tonga and there have only ever been three, but last week Sisifa Fili became the country's first female District officer, overseeing six villages in 'Eua.

Vika Kaufusi was also elected Town Officer for Haveluloto.

Ana Bing-Fonua said the successful campaigns highlights the recent workshops and training's her ministry ran were worth it.

Eighteen women in total stood in the elections, which Ms Bing-Fonua said was an achievement in itself.

"One of our goals was for them to actually overcome the hardest first step which was to actually survive the campaign. So from this onwards, it will build a lot more confidence."

"Even though some of them were close but not getting them into the position, for example our candidate for Matamaka in Vava'u, she lost by only two votes," she said.

Ana Bing-Fonua said a key to changing mindsets about women in politics is involving more youth in the process as well.