Elections “free and credible” say observers

The Pacific Island Forum’s Observer Team had described this month’s snap election as free and credible.

Wilson Waguk from the Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia to Fiji, who led the team, said there were some minor procedural issues which did not affect the results.

The Forum team observed the opening polling and counting on the islands of ‘Eua and Tongatapu.

Meanwhile, the chair of the Commonwealth observer group, Margaret Wilson, said the election results reflected the wishes of the people.

She said the elections were conducted peacefully and professionally.

Wilson also praised the election of two women candidates, Losaline Ma’asi joined ‘Akosita Lavulavu.

Both stood for Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s Democratic Party.

She said the election of the two women was significant.

“I think at the next election you will certainly see further campaigns from women candidates and hopefully they will produce more women being elected,” the former New Zealand cabinet minister said.

Since 1951 there have only been eight women in Tonga’s parliament, only five of whom were elected.

About 15 overseas observers, including staff from the US embassy in Fiji, oversaw the elections.

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