22 Apr 2008

Candidates standing for election in Tonga in last days of campaigning

7:14 am on 22 April 2008

More than 70 candidates standing for election in Tonga are in the last days of campaigning.

Many have taken their message to traditional meetings following restrictions on TV and radio broadcasts imposed by the Government.

The veteran people's representative Akilisi Pohiva says many Tongans are still confused over what political change might bring.

He says meetings in villages last night showed people need to be educated on how a more Western style of democracy can work to accommodate Tongan tradition.

67 thousand Tongans have registered to vote.

Meanwhile, this month's controversial clampdown on political broadcasting imposed by the board and management of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission has been extended to include press conferences.

A candidate for this week's general election who invited TBC newsroom staff to a press conference has been stopped from broadcasting his programme.

'Inoke Hu'akau told Matangi Tonga online that a member of the TBC Board told him the reason the broadcast of his press conference was cancelled was because TBC staff were present at the press conference.