TONGAN GOVERNMENT CONTESTS TWO CANDIDATES

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NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Mar. 8) - Two candidates in Tonga’s March 17 Parliamentary Election, ‘Iunaise Vusenga Helu and Fononga Tu’ipeatau, are fighting in the Nuku’alofa Supreme Court to keep their names on the Electoral Roll.

Yesterday, the Crown claimed that Vusenga Helu’s name should be struck out from the list of candidates for Vava’u because of her infringement of Clause 65 of the Constitution in that she did not abide by a court order to repay her loan to the Tonga Development Bank.

Chief Justice Webster presided over the hearing, which is expected to be concluded today.

Vusenga, a lawyer and a former judge of the High Court of Nauru, is the only woman among the 18 candidates who are competing for the two People's Representatives seats for Vava’u.

The legal counsel for the Crown is ‘Ofa Pouono, and Vusenga is representing herself.

The case of Fononga Tu’ipeatau is expected to be heard in the same court in the afternoon of March 9, to be concluded on March 10. Fononga is one of the 31 candidates who are competing for the three representative seats for Tongatapu.

March 9, 2005

Matangi Tonga: www.matangitonga.to/nav.html

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