Kingdom’s snap election affects overseas Tongan potential candidates

Tonga’s early general election has affected some of the Tongan citizens living overseas who had planned to run for Parliament in 2018.

The election date had been changed and Tongan voters will now go to the polls in two months time.

Tonga’s electoral laws required all potential candidates who wish to register to be in Tonga on a certain period of time before the election begins.

This is what the law says:  “Provided that a person resident outside of Tonga who is qualified to be an elector will qualify as a candidate only if he is present in Tonga for a period of 3 months before the election.”

Auckland-based business man Vaʻa Taliaʻuli said he was planning to stand for Tongatapu 3 electorate in the 2018 general election.

He said he cannot now fulfil his dream because the election date had been changed and he could not qualify.

He said he has other commitments for his businesses and family.

Taliaʻuli, who owned the Velata Restaurant and Catering centre in South Auckland said the unexpected election meant he did not have enough time to prepare.

King Tupou VI has stunned the Tongan political world by calling for an early general election to be held before November 16, seeking new Members of Parliament to run the country.

Acting Attorney General ʻAminiasi Kefu said the upcoming election was a general election and the new elected representatives will become Members of Parliament for the next four years after the election.

When asked if his Office could consider the situation and do something to allow the potential candidates who were not in Tonga before the election to be able to register Kefu said that was impossible.

He said the Legislative Assembly was the only body that can change the law but it has been dissolved.

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