14 Mar 2005

Record number of voters expected at polls in Tonga

2:27 pm on 14 March 2005

The Election Supervisor in Tonga says he is expecting a record turnout at the polls this week.

Pita Vuki says more than 65-thousand people have registered to vote in Thursday's popular vote.

He says in the 2002 election there were 59-thousand registered voters.

Mr Vuki says the general public in Tonga has become more politically aware in recent years.

"In the past few years, our parliament sessions were broadcasted on the radio and the our TV and I guess people are getting more aware of what is going on in the house and they are getting more interested in things that they are discussing the parliament, getting more aware of the process of the parliament session, so people are getting more interested."

Pita Vuki says the elections will also see a record number of candidates standing.

The elections will start with the Nobles selecting their nine representatives on Wednesday before the another nine Peoples' Representatives are chosen.