TWO TONGA NOBELS LOSE PARLIAMENT SEATS

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (March 10, 1999 – Radio Australia)---In the first round of the Tongan election, two nobles, including the Speaker of the Parliament, have lost their seats.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports from Tonga that the Speaker, the Honorable Fusitu‘a, has lost the northern-most seat of Niua's and the member for the main island of Tongatapu has been replaced:

"Tonga's election supervisor Simi Tekiteki says almost all the nobles currently in Tonga, just under 30 of them, were present at the King's palace for the election of nine of their number to the Parliament for the next three years.

"Two of the sitting nobles failed to be reindorsed by their peers.

"One for the electorate of Tongatapu came in instead of the Honorable noble Kalauiuvilu and the other noble, Ma‘atu, came in in place of the Honourable Fusitu‘a.

"Tomorrow the 54,000 registered commoners will to elect their nine representatives to the 30 member Parliament.

"Sean Dorney, Nuku‘alofa."

TONGA’S DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT EXPECTING STRONG VOTE

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (March 10, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The leader of the pro-democracy movement in Tonga is predicting that his followers will win at least seven of the nine seats reserved for commoners during tomorrow's national election.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports from Tonga that 54,000 people have registered to vote:

"The Tonga human rights and democracy movement has endorsed 13 candidates for the nine commoner seats.

"The party's General Secretary, Akilisi Pohiva, who won the most votes of any candidate during the election three years ago, is confident the movement will pick up seven seats, which he says should send a message to the king.

"Pohiva said ‘The outcome of the election tomorrow should be considered . . . or should be regarded as a mandate, as a clear mandate for Government.’

"But under the Tongan constitution, the people's representatives don't govern. That's the role of the Cabinet, which is appointed by the King.

"Sean Dorney, Nuku‘alofa."

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