9 Nov 2017

Tongan female candidate wants merit, not gender to matter

8:37 pm on 9 November 2017

A female candidate in next week's Tongan elections says the fact she is a woman should be irrelevant when it comes to voting.

Tongan broadcaster Katalina Tohi ran for Parliament in the 2017 election

Katalina Tohi, Photo: RNZI/Koro Vaka'uta

The broadcast journalist Katalina Tohi is among 15 women standing in the election next Thursday.

Over the past few years, women's groups have lobbied for temporary seats to be set aside for women in an effort to boost their representation rates.

There was only one female MP in the 26 seat parliament last term and only eight in total since 1951.

Those looking for greater representation suggest women need to be confident in voting for their own.

But Mrs Tohi said she wanted to be elected for being the best candidate available.

"Whether you are a man or whether you are a woman, it all depends on what you can do in Parliament, what you can do for the people in your constituency and what you can do for the people of Tonga," she said.

"[It's] not so much about being a women representative in Parliament. It all depends on your credibility."