3 Oct 2017

Tongan leader hopeful for more women MPs

9:30 am on 3 October 2017

The head of the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children says she is proud to see so many women running for parliament in Tonga's upcoming general election.

Tongan MP 'Akosita Lavulavu.

Tongan MP 'Akosita Lavulavu. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

Fifteen of the 86 candidates who have put their names forward for the election on 16 November are women.

In 2014, 16 women stood for election out of 104 candidates.

There was only one woman in Tonga's last parliament - Akosita Lavulavu, who won a by-election in her Vava'u number 16 seat last year.

The head of the women's centre Fuiva Kavaliko said she thinks Tongan voters will respond positively to the women candidates.

She said the short build-up to the election may well favour women.

"I hope that with this quick, you know this change, to me it's an abrupt change, on having to dissolve the parliament and then have this election, I hope that this will be a chance for women to get in."

Fuiva Kavaliko said the women candidates are very good and stand a real chance of being elected despite tradition favouring men.

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