A sobering reality hits Democrats after election losses; voters elect nine new faces

Tonga’s PTOA Party (Democrats) lost both their rival leaders and majority votes in some strongholds with defeats to seven independent candidates among People’s Representatives in yesterday’s elections.

The PTOA Party was split in the lead up to the elections with the creation of two rival groups — the PTOA People’s Board led by Siaosi Pōhiva and PTOA Core Team led by Sēmisi Sika.

Last night they faced the reality that they had dug their own grave.

The voters have elected nine new People’s MPs and three new nobles to the all-male Parliament, according to provisional results announced by the Supervisor of Elections Pita Vuki.

PTOA top senior members, including Mateni Tapueluelu, PTOA People’s Board leader Pōhiva and Core Team leader Sika were all defeated.

People’s Board leader Siaosi was defeated by Tongatapu 1 new MP Tēvita Puloka.

Core Team leader Sēmisi Sika lost his Tongatapu 2 seat to Dr Pingi Fasi.

Tapueluelu loses seat
PTOA senior MP Māteni Tapueluelu lost his seat to incumbent Minister of Economy Tafafu Moeaki.

Tapueluelu and his PTOA rival candidate ‘Ilaiasi Lelei ‘Ufi received a combination result of 1457 votes from the PTOA voters, but because they shared that number it opened an opportunity for Moeaki to defeat them.

In Tongatapu 5, the PTOA voters gave a total of 1104 votes to the PTOA candidates, with 614 votes going to Losaline Ma’asi while her PTOA rival ‘Akanete Ta’ai got 490 votes. Dr ‘Aisake Eke won the seat by 958 votes.

In Tongatapu 7, the PTOA voters gave their candidates Sangstar Saulala and Paula Piveni Piukala a total of 1420 votes. Sangstar won by 810 votes.

In Tongatapu 10, the PTOA rival candidates gained a total votes of 1554 while Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa received only 1303 votes.

However, Tu’i’onetoa won after the two PTOA rivals split their votes with Kapeli Lanumata receiving 1086 votes with Vika Kaufusi gaining only 468 votes.

The democrats should have won if they had been united and settled their differences.

Dissatisfaction at the government’s flagrant mishandling of the road projects, their tour of the islands to supposedly pray Covid-19 away while receiving gifts and feasting and the Prime Minister’s prolonged refusal to act against convicted Cabinet Minister ‘Akosita Lavulavu all grated with the voters.

The sobering reality is that the government did not so much win this election as the PTOA lost it.

All PTOA supporters can hope for at this stage is that the leaders of the two party factions learn this bitter lesson well: If they are ever to regain power they must reconcile with each other and rediscover the late ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s vision for a truly democratic Tonga.

Provisional election results:
People’s Representatives:

Tt1: Tevita Puloka (1695 votes)
Tt2: Dr Ping Fasi (962)
Tt3: Siaosi Sovaleni (2084)
Tt4: Tatafu Moeaki (1237)
Tt5: Dr ‘Aisake Eke (968)
Tt6: Poasi Tei (1771)
Tt7: Sangstar Saulala (810)
Tt8: Semisi Fakahau (1020)
Tt9: Seventeen Toumoua (828)
Tt10: Pōhiva Tuionetoa (1303)
Eua11: Dr Taniela Fusimalohi (1072)
Hp12: Viliami Hingano (475)
Hp13: Veivosa Taka (731)
Vv14: Saia Piukala (1010)
Vv15: Sāmiu Vaipulu (747)
Vv16: Dr Viliami Latu (1047)
Niua17 Vatau Hui 367 votes

Nobility election:
Lord Vaea (13 votes)
Lord Tu’ivakano (12)
Lord Fohe (10)
Lord Tu’i’afitu (9)
Lord Tu’ilakepa (8)
Lord Tui’ha’angana (5)
Lord Fakafanua (4)
Lord Nuku (11)
HSH Prince Kalaniuvalu, the Lord Fotofili (2)

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