15 Nov 2017

Tonga's Civil Society says public is engaged in election

12:38 pm on 15 November 2017

The head of the Civil Society Forum in Tonga says campaigning for Thursday's election has been the most aggressive she has seen.

'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia

Executive Director of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga, 'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia. Photo: RNZ/Koro Vaka'uta

The election comes a year earlier than scheduled after the King dissolved parliament around concerns about the conduct of the government.

Siale 'Ilolahia said this may have led to a voting public becoming more engaged than in the past.

She also said candidates were taking airwaves, to the streets in floats, and pushing their messages more than ever before.

Ms 'Ilolahia said people were starting to think more about the consequence of their votes.

"In the past voting has been more on a popular thing, where a group of people just come together and say OK, we'll vote for who? Or even in the context of the family, voting for certain people because we have some strong family ties. It's a lot more where people are starting to listen a lot more to the campaign."

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