Tongan general election, 2008

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Parliamentary elections were held in Tonga on 23 and 24 April 2008 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly.[1] The nobles were elected on 23 April, and the nine people's representatives on 24 April.[2] A total of 32,000 people turned out to vote, giving a turnout of 48%.[3]

71 candidates had filed for the people's representatives' seats, among them eight women. All nine incumbents stood for reelection, with six retaining their seats.[4] Most of the pro-democracy MPs were returned, despite several facing charges of sedition over the 2006 Nuku'alofa riots[5] Reportedly, all nine elected MPs were pro-democracy activists.[6]

These elections were the last ones before democratic reforms expected to be implemented in 2010, which would change the seat balance as follows: 17 MPs would be popularly elected, nine MPs would be elected by the nobles and four MPs appointed by the king.[7]

Viliami Uasike Latu requested a recount in Vava'u, the constituency he contested, as he missed out on the second seat there by only 51 votes; the recount was conducted from 5 to 9 May at the Office of the Governor of Vava’u.[8] Latu lose the recount on 14 May after an increase to the other candidate, Samiu Kuita Vaipulu from 1,896 votes to 1,902 votes while Latu received a very narrow decrease of two votes from the original 1,845 votes to 1,843 votes.[9]

Controversy[edit]

About two weeks before the election, it was announced that the Tonga Broadcasting Commission would henceforth censor candidates' political broadcasts,[10] and that TBC reporters would be banned from reporting on political matters, allegedly because they lacked the necessary training for objective coverage.[11] The decision was criticised by the Pacific Islands News Association, and New Zealand's Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, commented that it was "unfortunate".[12] Tonga Review said that the decision was a restriction on freedom of speech, and compared Tonga with Zimbabwe,[13] a comparison rejected by the TBC.[14] Tongan MP Clive Edwards said that the TBC's decision was aimed at stifling criticism of the government in the lead-up to the election,[15] and to hamper the re-election chances of pro-democracy MPs.[16] Pesi Fonua, head of the Tonga Media Council, said that the election "very much depends on how the candidates present themselves", and that censorship would "definitely have an impact".[17]

Results[edit]

Summary of Results[edit]

e • d Summary of the 23 April/24 April 2008 Tongan Legislative Assembly election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Human Rights and Democracy Movement 21,914 28.36 4
Independents 41,798 54.09 3
People's Democratic Party 10,798 13.97 2
Paati Langafonua Tu'uloa 2,768 3.58 0
Members elected by and among the 29 hereditary nobles of Tonga 9
Members of the Privy Council (appointed by the King) 12
Governors (appointed by the King) 2
Total 77,278 100.00 30
Source: Matangi Tonga


People's Representatives[edit]

From Matangi Tonga

Tongan general election, 2008: Eua (1 member)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
HRDM Sunia Fili 849 35.3
Independent Tevita Lavemaau 506 21.1
Independent Tevita Tupou 437 18.2
Independent Siosaia Hausia 277 11.5
Independent Tu'ipulotu Lauaki 136 5.7
Independent 'Asipeli Mafi 130 5.4
Independent Veisinia Tupou Tu'itakau Kaho 56 2.3
Independent Hakeai Vea Havea 12 0.5
Turnout 2403
Tongan general election, 2008: Ha'apai (2 members)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
HRDM 'Uliti Uata 2491 29.5
PDP Teisina Fuko 1374 16.3
Independent Mo'ale Finau 1230 14.6
Independent 'Osai Latu 1060 12.6
Independent Siosaia K Ma'ake Paluto 853 10.1
Independent Lopeti Kamipeli Tofa 405 4.8
Independent Sione Tu'itupou Fotu 401 4.8
Independent Siaosi Vaikona 310 3.7
Independent Sosaia Finau 306 3.6
Turnout 8430
Tongan general election, 2008: Niuas (1 member)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Sione 'Iloa 462 36.8
Independent Sione Haukinima 352 28.0
HRDM Lepolo Taunisila 236 18.8
Independent 'Ofa Simiki 207 16.5
Turnout 1257
Tongan general election, 2008: Tongatapu (3 members)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
HRDM 'Akilisi Pohiva 11290 22.3
HRDM 'Isileli Pulu 7048 13.9
PDP Clive Edwards 6697 13.2
Independent Sione Sangster Saulala 5451 10.8
Independent 'Inoke Fotu Hu'akau 2802 5.5
PLT Sione Fonua 2768 5.5
PDP Semisi P I Tapueluelu 2727 5.4
Independent Mele Teusivi 'Amanaki 1523 3.0
Independent Semisi 'Ofa Fukofuka 1150 2.3
Independent 'Alisi Pone Fotu 1136 2.2
Independent Mateitalo Folaumoetao Mahu'inga 1082 2.1
Independent Sitiveni Takaetali Finau 922 1.8
Independent Mateaki Ki he Lotu Heimuli 828 1.6
Independent Latanoa Pikula 795 1.6
Independent Sateki Finau 675 1.3
Independent Filimone Fifita 649 1.3
Independent Sulunga Lavaka 594 1.2
Independent 'Akanete Ta'ai Lauti 454 0.9
Independent Sione Tu'i'onetoa 394 0.8
Independent Salesi Kauvaka 269 0.5
Independent Tupou Malohi 259 0.5
Independent Semisi Nauto Tuapasi 'Ata'ata 185 0.4
Independent 'Alani Fisher Taione 184 3.6
Independent 'Eliu Hafoka 181 3.6
Independent Malu Faletau 165 0.3
Independent Hoatatau Tenisi 162 0.3
Independent Punalei Nuku 144 0.3
Independent 'Eliesa Fifita 118 0.2
Turnout 50652 56.0
Tongan general election, 2008: Vava'u (2 members)
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent 'Etuate Lavulavu 2116 14.6
Independent Samiu Vaipulu 1896 13.0
Independent Viliami Uasike Latu 1845 12.7
Independent Salesi Paea 1471 10.1
Independent Masao Paasi 1213 8.3
Independent 'Opeti Pulotu 917 6.3
Independent Viliami Helu 726 5.0
Independent Tevita Moengangongo Saia 700 4.8
Independent Sione Kilipati Lea 674 4.6
Independent Peauafi Tatafu 557 3.8
Independent Polutele Tu'ihalamaka 544 3.7
Independent Viliula Mafi 442 3.0
Independent Moleni Taufa 383 2.6
Independent Viliami Pasikala 191 1.3
Independent Keuli Pasina Lavaki 185 1.3
Independent Paula K Kava 177 1.2
Independent 'Ofa Kitokelau Fakalata 113 0.8
Independent Mataiasi Moteini Moala 104 0.7
Independent Tongovua Tae Appleton 86 0.6
Independent Temaleti Levaitai Fulivai Faka'osi 73 0.5
Independent Kapeliele Fungalei Cocker 72 0.5
Independent To'ofohe Loketi Teaupa 51 0.4
Turnout 14536 72.58

Nobles' representatives[edit]

Nine nobles were elected by the 29 eligible members of the nobility on 23 April. All 29 voters cast votes. There were no nominations, and no candidates. Tu'iha'angana, outgoing Speaker of the House, lost his seat in Ha'apai.[18]


Tongan general election, 2008: Eua (1 member)
Candidate Votes % ±%
Hon. Lasike 7
Hon. Fohe 3
Baron Vaea of Houma 1


Tongan general election, 2008: Ha'apai (2 members)
Candidate Votes % ±%
Hon. Tu'iha'ateiho 3
Hon. Tu'ipelehake 3
Hon. Fakafanua 2
Hon. Malupo 2
Hon. Niukapu 2
Hon. Tu'iha'angana 2


Tongan general election, 2008: Niuas (1 member)
Candidate Votes % ±%
Hon. Tangipa 2
Hon. Fotofili 1


Tongan general election, 2008: Tongatapu (3 members)
Candidate Votes % ±%
Hon. Fielakepa 10
Hon. Ma'afu 10
Hon. Fohe 6
Hon. Vaha'i 4
Baron Vaea of Houma 3


Tongan general election, 2008: Vava'u (2 members)
Candidate Votes % ±%
Hon. Luani 3
Hon. Tu'ilakepa 3
Hon. Fakatulolo 2
Hon. Fulivai 2
Hon. Tuita 2
Hon. Tu'i'afitu 2
Prince 'Ulukalala 1

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Electoral Calendar- world elections,US elections,presidential election,world parties
  2. ^ Tonga to hold general elections in April - People's Daily Online
  3. ^ "48% turnout for 2008 General Election", Matangi Tonga, 28 April 2008
  4. ^ Tonga to hold general election on 24 April - People's Daily Online
  5. ^ Pro-democracy MPs mostly returned in Tonga - Radio New Zealand, 25 April 2008
  6. ^ "Tongans elect pro-democracy MPs". BBC News. 25 April 2008. 
  7. ^ Tonga heads to polls, but more slowly toward greater democracy
  8. ^ "Tonga election recount of Vava’u result next week". Radio New Zealand International. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Election recount confirms original results
  10. ^ "TBC's censorship committee makes its mark on coming election", Matangi Tonga, 11 April 2008
  11. ^ "Reporting restrictions in Tonga criticised by region", ABC Radio Australia, 10 April 2008
  12. ^ "Tonga pressured over media restrictions". The Age. AAP. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Tonga and Zimbabwe have something in common - restriction on free speech", Tonga Review, 7 April 2008
  14. ^ "TBC Boss Responds to Tonga Review Article", Tonga Review, 10 April 2008
  15. ^ "Veteran Tonga politician says government’s latest move is to stop criticism". Radio New Zealand International. 9 April 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "State Broadcaster restrictions slammed by Tonga People’s Rep". Radio New Zealand International. 8 April 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Restrictions on state broadcasting likely to impact on Tonga election, says journalist". Radio New Zealand International. 23 April 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "Former Speaker Tu'iha'angana loses seat in Nobles election". Matangi Tonga. 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2010-11-25.