25 Apr 2008

Tonga's Pohiva says despite win latest election was toughest

1:37 pm on 25 April 2008

Tonga's leading pro-democracy advocate, Akilisi Pohiva, says yesterday's poll was the most competitive and toughest election in his political career.

Mr Pohiva was again the highest polling candidate with more than 11,000 votes, 4,000 more than the next highest.

Of the nine successful People's Representatives, six are members of the pro-democracy movement, which has been under pressure since the riots of 2006.

Five of them, including Mr Pohiva, are facing sedition charges in relation to those events.

They are due to be tried in August.

Mr Pohiva says it was hard because of the limits on access to the state broadcaster, which he says is controlled by the Prime Minister, Feleti Sevele.

"And that is why I said this is the most competitive and very tough campaign simply because of the fact that we were not given the chance to communicate to the voters in our constituency. We have had a very limited chance of having access to our voters out in the islands and also in our main constituency."

Akilisi Pohiva