10 Jan 2005

Registration of candidates for Tonga election begins tomorrow

11:24 am on 10 January 2005

The registration of candidates in the national elections in Tonga are to be held tomorrow.

Each candidate must be endorsed for nomination by 50 eligible voters with their full names, registration numbers and signatures appearing on the nomination forms.

The order of names in the ballot papers will also be drawn tomorrow.

It's believed that most of the incumbents will stand again in the upcoming election while new ones, including some from overseas, will join the race.

Registered voters will go to the polls to elect nine representatives of the people on March 17th, consisting of three for Tongatapu, two each for Vava'u and Ha'apai and one each for 'Eua and the two Niuas.

It will be preceded by the election for the 9 nobles' representatives on March 16th.

Meanwhile, registration of new voters is still underway and will continue until the third week of February, when the names will be gazzetted.

The elections superviser, Pita Vuki says about 3-thousand new people have been registered and most of them have just reached the elligible voting age of 21.

The current roll has 60-thousand voters but according to Mr Vuki, some of them have either migrated overseas or are deceased.

He says they could only delete the names of those who have been registered as deceased but those who have migrated and have become naturalised citizens must officially inform them of their new status before their names are removed.