7 Jan 2015

Call for halt to kava club campaigning in Tonga

4:22 pm on 7 January 2015

A failed candidate in Tonga's election, Mele Amanaki, is calling for scrutiny of election campaigning in kava clubs.

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Photo: files

Ms Amanaki says certain candidates' activities in the bars where the traditional brew is drunk are in breach of the Election Act.

The Tongatapu candidate has laid complaints with the Electoral Commission against Siaosi Sovaleni, who is now deputy Prime Minister, and two unsuccessful candidates Tevita Palu and William Clive Edwards.

She says the way kava clubs are used by men in the run-up to elections is among her complaints which centre on campaign spending and bribery.

"A female candidate can just go there for a short period of time to give a speech and that's it but the male candidate can go and sit there the whole night and drink kava with the men. It's the contributions that they make to the club, that's where the complaints are, the amount of money they contribute to the club."

Mele Amanaki was among 16 women who stood unsuccessfully in last month's election.

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