Tonga gets thumbs up from election observer teams


The Pacific Island Forum’s Observer Team to Tonga has congratulated election officials for their professional conduct during last week’s snap election.

Wilson Waguk, from the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia to Fiji, led the team which observed the opening polling and counting on the islands of ‘Eua and Tongatapu.

The team said the election, in general, was efficiently and effectively conducted with voters free to cast their votes without intimidation or coercion.

Waguk said even though the Commission had a shorter time to prepare due to the snap elections, they still managed to deliver a free and credible election.

He said there were some minor procedural issues but he didn’t believe they were deliberate or affected the results.

The Commonwealth Observer Group to Tonga also expressed satisfaction with the way the election was conducted.

However the group’s head, former New Zealand cabinet minister Margaret Wilson, said there was a need for ongoing information about the electoral system.

Wilson said there was also an issue with encouraging youth to participate in the process.

“That will be an ongoing issue, as it is in a lot of other countries, so a lot of our focus was on how in fact we can support youth participation.”

Two of the 15 women candidates were elected. ‘Akosita Lavulavu was re-elected and she is joined by a new MP, Losaline Ma’asi.

The executive director of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga, ‘Emeline Siale ‘Ilolahia, said even though the total vote for women was low at 14 percent, it was an improvement on the previous election when only six percent of the vote went to women.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , ,