By ILIESA TORA
Nuku’alofa – November 19, 2021: 3pm (Nuku’alofa Times): His Majesty King Tupou VI told the people of Tonga in two different messages during the year to vote responsibly.
Her Royal Highness Princess Salote Pilolevu Tuita did the same more than once also in her public appearances, calling on the people of Tonga to be wise and elect the right people for Parliament.
The people responded through the ballots on November 18 and have voted in what many believe are people who can make a difference.
Five (5) new peoples’ reps were elected – with three reps returning to the House after losing earlier elections.
Only seven sitting members retained their seats.
Although there is disappointment amongst women folk that there is no female rep in the lineup, the general consensus is that the 17 elected are people who have proven records in serving their people.
New faces that have been elected are Tevita Puloka (Tongatapu 1), Dr Pingi Fasi (Tongatapu 2), Tatafu Moeaki (Tongatapu 4), Sevenitini Toumoua (Tongatapu 9) and Dr Taniela Fusimalohi (‘Eua).
Those who are returning to the House after some lapse are Dr Aisake Eke (Tongatapu 5), Sangster Saulala (Tongatapu 7) and Dr Viliame Latu (Vava’u 16).
Supervisor of Elections Pita Vuki said a total of 62,253 voters had registered to vote.
But only 62% voted.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni won the most votes from all the candidates in retaining his Tongatapu 3 seat, with 2084 votes.
The results did not work in favour of the Democratic Party or PTOA.
Internal bickering and differences between former Cabinet Minister Semisi Sika and Siaosi Pohiva, son of the late Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva, proved to be a major negative for the party.
Fielding two separate lists of candidates worked against the party rather than for them.
“I think that was one of the major downfall of the PTOA was that they were not able to successfully solve their differences within the party and took it out to the public,” prominent sports administrator Takitoa Taumoepeau told me in a discussion this morning.
“People were fed up with the internal bickering and they decided to elect new people.”
Mr Pohiva lost his Tongatapu 1 seat to businessman Tevita Puloka while Mr Sika lost his Tongatapu 2 seat to Dr Pingi Fasi.
Researcher Ofa Gutteinbel Likiliki said that the late Mr Pohiva had dominated Tongatapu 1 for years.
She said that since the democratic reforms of 2010, the top result for Tongatapu 1 have been:
2010: ‘Akilisi POHIVA, 1,657 votes (62.5% of the total votes for TTP1)
2014: ‘Akilisi POHIVA, 1,482 votes (53.5% of the total votes for TTP1)
2017: ‘Akilisi POHIVA, 1,379 votes (50% of the total votes for TTP1)
2019: (by-election) Siaosi POHIVA, 1,160 VOTES (50.35 %) of the total votes for TTP1)
That changed yesterday when Mr Puloka claimed 1,695 (68.44%) of the total votes for the constituency.
Former newspaper editor Mateni Tapueluelu, who held the Tongatapu 4 seat, was defeated by former Asia Development Bank Tonga manager Tatafu Moeaki in another surprise result.
Tatafu entered his first election and won well against the established Tapueluelu.
Only three of their party members won their seats this time around.
They are Semisi Fakahau of Tongatapu 8, Veivosa Taka of Ha’apai 13 and Dr Saia Piukala of Vava’u 14.
A big disappointment for women is the fact there is no woman in the lineup.
All 12 candidates that stood were defeated in their own constituencies.
Prominent youth leader Elizabeth Kite posted her disappointment on Facebook.
“Official General Election results are out. Not a single female candidate successfully voted into Parliament. Quite disgraceful,” she said.
“Only chance for female participation now is if elected PM appoint token female member/s.”
Not much to celebrate if half the country’s population is not represented in who governs us.”
The Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre, Ms Ofa Guittenbel Likiliki said it was a foregone conclusion, as far as she was concerned, because research has shown that people still not accept women in politics.
Ms Likiliki said the only solution now for women pushing to have women reps in Parliament is to seek Temporary Seats.
Out of the 12 women who ran in 2021, she revealed the following:
- Out of a total of 38,500 votes, only 4,352 were cast for the 12 female candidates, that’s down from 14% of total votes in 2017 to 11.29% in 2021
- Losaline Ma’asi did not make it in for a second term. Only once in the history of parliament has a female candidate been elected for a second term; ‘Akosita Lavulavu (2016 by-election and 2017 snap election)
- Losaline Ma’asi at the 2017 snap elections won 35% (1,034) of the total # of votes from her constituency TTP5. This decreased to 22.58% (614) in 2021
- Vika Fusimalohi took out 488 votes in the 2017 snap elections from her constituency Tongatapu 9. This decreased to 344 in the 2021 general elections, a decrease of 144 votes
- a total of 12 female candidates stood in the 2021 general elections – down by 3 from the total who stood in 2017 (15)
While analyzing the results of the election and votes cast Mr Likiliki said there are mixed results showing.
Tongatapu 1 was the constituency with the most votes cast at the 2021 election with 2,900, compared to 2017 where the most votes cast was in the Tongatapu 3 constituency with 3,210 votes.
Her analysis shows the following results, for the constituency with the most vote cast to the 17th:
- 1st Tongatapu 1: 2,900 votes (2,734 in 2017)
- 2nd Tongatapu 6: 2,859 votes (2,927 in 2017)
- 3rd Tongatapu 10: 2,857 votes (2,808 in 2017)
- 4th Tongatapu 5: 2,719 votes (2,927 in 2017)
- 5th Tongatapu 4: 2,573 votes (2,422 in 2017)
- 6th Tongatapu 7: 2,551 votes (2,616 in 2017)
- 7th Tongatapu 9: 2550 votes (2,618 in 2017)
- 8th Tongatapu 3: 2,502 votes (3,210 in 2017)
- 9th Tongatapu 8: 2,461 votes (2,526 in 2017)
- 10th Vava’u 16: 2,356 votes (2,180 in 2017)
- 11th ‘Eua 11: 2,142 votes (2,108 in 2017)
- 12th: Vava’u 14: 2,091 votes (2,231 in 2017)
- 13th Vava’u 15: 2,048 votes (2,121 in 2017)
- 14th Tongatapu 2: 1,966 votes (2,136 in 2017)
- 15th Ha’apai 13: 1,528 votes (1,594 in 2017)
- 16th Ha’apai 12: 1,513 votes (1,598 in 2017)
- 17th Ongo Niua: 934 votes (857 in 2017)
Members of Parliament
Nobles had elected their reps earlier in the day on November 18.
Lord Vaea returns to Parliament after missing out in the last term.
Two new nobles’ reps were also elected – Lord Fohe and Prince Kalaunivalu Fotofili.
They are now joined by the 17 Peoples’ reps elected by the people.
The full list of the 26 Members of Parliament is:
TT1 – Tevita Puloka – 1695 votes
TT2 – Dr. Bing Fasi – 962 votes
TT3 – Hon Huakavameiliku (Siaosi Sovaleni) – 2084 votes
TT4 – Tatafu Moeaki – 1237
TT5 – Dr. Aisake Eke – 958 votes
TT6 – Poasi Tei – 1771 votes
TT7 – Sangster Saulala – 810 votes
TT8 – Semisi Fakahau – 1020 votes
TT9 – Seventeen Toumoua – 828 votes
TT10 – Pohiva Tuionetoa – 1303 votes
Eua 11 – Taniela Fusimalohi – 1072 votes
HP12 – Manuopangai Hingoa – 475 votes
HP13 – Veivosa Taka – 731 votes
VV14 – Saia Piukala – 1010 votes
VV15 – Samiu Vaipulu – 747
VV16 – Dr Viliami Latu – 1047
Niua 17 – Vatau Hui – 367 votes