6 Mar 2008

Tongan candidates eligible for election despite facing charges

3:01 pm on 6 March 2008

Tonga's supervisor of elections says candidates can stand in next month's election despite facing charges of sedition relating to the 2006 November riot.

Eight out of 71 candidates have been confirmed to have cases pending in court

But Pita Vuki says the only grounds for being disqualified is if a candidate has failed to pay a debt.

Mr Vuki says the current candidates are all presumed innocent.

"Well I think its a matter for the court to decide and the court can remove someone, even if he or she is elected for seats in parliament. And whenever there is a vacancy in parliament, there should [then] be by-elections."

Tonga's supervisor of elections, Pita Vuki.

Tonga's election for nine People's representatives is on April 24, with the election of Nobles Representatives the day before.