TONGA
Parliamentary Chamber: Fale Alea

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Fale Alea


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  7 March 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the elective seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 8 January 2002, it was announced that voters would go to the polls in the first week of March. This election to the Kingdom's Legislative Assembly took place over two days, with nine representatives of the nobles and nine representatives of the people being chosen. The nobles elected their nine representatives to the House on 6 March 2002, before thousands of voters elected the nine people's representatives the following day.

The elections for the people's representatives attracted 52 candidates. These candidates were mostly the same 52 who had sought election in the last poll, in 1999. There were no international observers. Tonga is a near absolute monarchy ruled by 83-year-old King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, who appoints the Cabinet for life terms under the Prime Ministership of his youngest son. The Cabinet also holds 12 of the 30 seats in Parliament.

After the results were known, the Human Rights and Democracy Movement, which is not a formal political party as there are no political parties in the country, emboldened by the very successful election in which they captured seven of the nine commoner seats, launched a campaign to overhaul the system. The main issue of this campaign was the creation of a two-chamber Parliament, with the nobles electing an upper house, and the lower house consisting entirely of members elected by the people. The opponents to the Human Rights and Democracy Movement, the Kotoa Movement, back the royal family and are critical of the idea of separating the nobles into a second house, because "Tonga's traditional social system depends on a close relationship between commoners and the land-owning aristocracy".

The nine elected people's representatives took up their seat in Parliament for a new three-year term from May 2002.

STATISTICS
Comments:
  There are no parties in Tonga


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union