Friday, April 25, 2008

Democrats win in Tonga

Yesterday Tonga went to the polls to elect nine People's Representatives to their undemocratic Parliament. The count has now finished, and most of the pro-democracy MPs have been returned. In particular, Akilisi Pohiva, 'Isileli Pulu and Clive Edwards, all of whom were facing sedition charges for supposedly instigating the 2006 riots, have been endorsed by the people of their Tongatapu electorate (where the riots happened), with two of them increasing their vote. Only one of the charged MP's - Lepolo Taunisila, also Tonga's only woman MP - failed to regain their seat. In exchange, one of the newcomers - former MP Teisina Fuko - is also facing charges. In short, the people have spoken - and given a great "fuck you" to the aristocracy.

This creates an immediate flashpoint in August, when these MPs are finally expected to come to trial. If convicted, they will lose their seats. How will the people of Tonga react when their elected representatives are removed due to political prosecutions?

(Full results are now up at Matangi Tonga. Meanwhile, if anyone knows anything at all about the upcoming Niue elections, could they get in touch? There's a wikipedia article that needs writing...)