2 Oct 2017

86 candidates to line up for Tonga election

1:58 pm on 2 October 2017

Fewer candidates are set to contest the Tonga general election next month compared with 2014.

Tonga's caretaker PM 'Akilisi Pohiva

Tonga's caretaker PM 'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller

That year 105 stood for the 17 seats open to members of the general public, but just 86 are to stand on 16 November.

Fifteen of the candidates are women.

Most of the candidates are in the ten seats on Tongatapu, and Tongatapu One, which has been held by caretaker prime minister Akilisi Pohiva for many years, has the highest number of candidates.

Ten people are joining Mr Pohiva in contesting the seat.

Well-known educationalist and a former Tonga MP, Sitiveni Halapua, is standing again in Tongatapu Three, after stepping away from politics at the previous election.

The poll is a year early after King Tupou VI dissolved parliament and ordered fresh elections sparking fears that democracy in Tonga was under threat.

The dissolution came on advice from the Speaker that the government was acting unconstitutionally in trying to acquire more power at the expense of the nobility.

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