TWO CANDIDATES FILE PETITIONS OVER TONGA ELECTIONS

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Unsuccessful candidates appeal to Supreme Court

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 6, 2011) – In Tonga, two petitions have been filed with the Supreme Court regarding the outcome of Tonga's November 25, 2010 General Election in two constituencies, Tongatapu 6 and Vava'u 14.

One petition was filed against the Electoral Commission on December 16, 2010 by Siosaia Moehau, an unsuccessful candidate for the Tongatapu 6 constituency.

Saia a local businessman from Hofoa was only four votes behind the winner of the Tongatapu 6 seat. Tu'utafaiva a lawyer from Ha'akame won with 735 votes followed by Siosaia Moehau with 731 votes.

On November 29 Saia applied and paid 1,000 pa'anga [US$540] for a recount of his ballot and the result came back with the same. However, Saia does not accept the result and remains convinced that he won the seat for his constituency and on 16 December 2010 filed a petition against the Electoral Commission with the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile a Vava'u candidate, Siale Fifita, has lodged a petition against an alleged infringement of the Electoral Act by a Vava'u elected People's Representative on the night before the election.

Siale, who ran for the Vava'u 14 Constituency, alleged that the Hon. Lisiate 'Akolo, who won the seat for the constituency, had infringed the Electoral Act.

Siale filed his petition written in Tongan with the Supreme Court on 22 December, 2010. But according to staff of the Supreme Court he was told to file an English version of his petition.

Siale said today, January 6, that by tomorrow he would confirm whether or not to proceed with his petition.

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