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Pohiva and Party return with landslide win

Akilisi Pohiva

BONN, Germany – November 16: 10.12pm (Nuku’alofa Times): TWO women have now been elected as Members of Parliament following today’s general election in Tonga.

The two are newcomer and former civil servant Losaline Ma’asi who caused the major upset by beating Dr Aisake Eke, while the other other is Akosita Lavulavu of Vava’u who retained her seat.

The two helped Akilisi Pohiva’s Democratic Party win 14 of the 17 Peoples’ seats.

That means they can now also form government.

Ms Ma’asi is also one of the three new MPs for the next four years, joining Ha’apai 12’s Mo’ale Finau and  for Vili Hingano and Vātau Hui of Niua.

The elected MPs for the 17 Peoples’ Reps are : 1- ‘Akilisi Pohiva, 2- Semisi Sika, 3- Siaosi Sovaleni, 4- Mateni Tapueluelu, 5- Losaline Ma’asi, 6- Poasi Tei, 7- Sione Vuna Fa’otusia, 8- Semisi Fakahau, 9- Penisimani Fifita, 10- Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, ‘Eua – 11- Tevita Lavemaau, Ha’apai – 12- Mo’ale Finau, 13- Veivosā Taka; Vava’u – 14- Saia Piukala, 15- Samiu Vaipulu, 16- ‘Akosita Lavulavu; – Niua – 17- Vātau Hui.


Pohiva’s support intact

Meanwhile, two political critics have said that the landslide win speaks strongly for Mr Pohiva.

Kalafi Moala said it was a remarkable and unexpected feat, given the Pohiva administration’s tenure was cut short by the August dissolution of Parliament.

The King called the snap election over concerns about the government’s conduct.

Mr Moala said despite this Mr Pohiva’s brand remains strong.

“He has declined in terms of numbers but he’s still the most dominant politician that’s influenced politics in Tonga,” he said.

The public has not listened to the accusations surrounding the conduct of ‘Akilisi Pohiva and the last government according to Mr Moala.

There were claims the government had acted unconstitutionally by signing international agreements without the King’s approval.

The dissolution was the end of a term full of controversy, including the late withdrawal from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, and the development of a heritage site.

But Mr Moala said that didn’t seem to matter.

“Even the fact that there have been the proclamations everywhere during this campaign that this is the most scandalous government that’s ever been in Tonga, obviously nobody listened to that.

“It’s quite interesting. It was like teflon, it just comes out and it hits people and it falls off,” he said.

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M Kalafi Moala. Photo: RNZI/ Koro Vaka’uta

Seven of the nine seats set aside for Nobles were returned to the incumbents, Lord Vaha’i and Lord Fakafanua two changes in Tongatapu and Ha’apai respectively.

Meanwhile, one of 14 Democratic Party candidates to win a seat in Thursday’s election in Tonga, said the result shows the people did not agree with the dissolution of Parliament.

Pohiva Tu’ionetoa, a cabinet minister in the last government, said the people have made a statement.

“Although the House has been dissolved, they do make a strong statement, that the people want the democracy to progress. The people state that the dissolution of Parliament was not the proper way to progress in democracy in this country,” Mr Tu’ionetoa said.

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