Elections crucial, Commonwealth head says as observer team readies for Thursday’s poll

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Pita Vuki. Photo/Kaniva Tonga

Thursday’s election is crucial for the people of Tonga, according to Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.

Baroness Scotland said the elections would strengthen the democratic process in Tonga.

A Commonwealth Observer Group is in Tonga to monitor this Thursday’s election.

The team was invited to observe the elections by the Tongan government.

The group is being led by former New Zealand Attorney General Margaret Wilson.

Other members of the commonwealth team include Nauru’s Electoral Commissioner Joseph Cain, Fiji’s Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem and a human rights lawyer from Swaziland, Lomcebo Dlamini.

It will remain in country until November 20.

Observers from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the US Embassy in Suva will also be watching the election.

Meanwhile, the kingdom’s supervisor of elections, Pita Vuki has told Radio New Zealand he hoped the election results would be announced on Thursday night.

Polling booths will open at 9am and close at 4pm.

Polling officials from  ‘Eua, Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and the Niua have been trained on what to do on election day and election matertials have been sent to the outer islands.

Vuki said the final electoral roll containing about 59,000 names, had been printed.

At the last election voter turnout was 79 percent.

Thursday’s elections were called after King Tupou VI dissolved Parliament in August.

The main points

  • Thursday’s election is crucial for the people of Tonga, according to Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
  • A Commonwealth Observer Group is in Tonga to monitor this Thursday’s election.
  • Observers from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the US Embassy in Suva will also be watching the election.
  • Voting begins at 9am on Thursday.

For more information

Commonwealth to observe general elections in Tonga

Tonga ready for next week’s vote – Election Supervisor

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