7 September, 2017. A women's rights advocate in Tonga says the early elections give new candidates, including women, a more even playing field to contest the vote.
Last month parliament was dissolved by royal decree and early elections were called, a year ahead of schedule.
The elections are due to be held by November the 16th.
The Civil Society Forum said the short lead-in time could hamper women candidates who need more encouragement and preparation because of cultural restrictions.
But 'Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki said it could actually work in their favour.
"Twelve months before the next elections, we start seeing the male candidates, who are currently in parliament, using their constituency development funds to do a whole lot of development projects around their villages, around their constituencies so that it raises their profile and their popularity amongst the voters.
That's all gone now," she said.
Mark Hanson Monday, 11 September 2017 08:44 Comment Link
Are we seeing here rival views here from women advocates? Siale 'ILOLAHIA of CSF said that women are disadvantaged by this early unexpected election. Now 'Ofa Likiliki of WCCC is saying the opposite. How can we say with confidence that women are ready for parliament if they themselves do not agree on the degree of readiness of women? But this is the problem with women, they can't work together and there is too much rivalry and bickering. I have this fear that we have three or more women in parliament they will spend their time arguing and competing with each other instead of working together. They even don't agree on women's issues!!Report
I know for a fact that some women have expressed their candidacy for the coming election but we have not heard any messages of support and encouragement from the women advocate groups. Dr Netatua Taufatofua is running from No. 1 and Mrs Litia Vea Simpson has indicated she will be running from No.3. Vika Fusimalohi is running from No. 9. All these candidates are highly educated women with a lot to offer to the development of Tonga, but none of the women activists has expressed any support to these women, let alone even mentioning their names. What is happening I wonder. May be they have a particular woman in mind. But what does this tell us about these so called promoters of women? I am very interested to hear what Lepolo Tausila, 'Ofa Likiliki, Siale 'ILOLAHIA etc etc have to say about these candidates.