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King Tupou VI has issued the Writs of Election, proclaiming Tonga will go to the polls on November 16 after Parliament was dissolved last month.
His Majesty made the sudden dissolution decision after advice from the Speaker Lord Tuʻivakanō.
The snap general election comes one year ahead of the November 2018 schedule.
The sudden timing of the election has hit some of the Tongan citizens living overseas who had plans to run for Parliament in 2018.
The upcoming election was a general election and the new elected representatives will become Members of Parliament for the next four years after the election.
The Electoral Commission has called for the nomination of candidates, who must register over two-days from 27-28 September at the Office of the Electoral Commission in Nuku’alofa, the Governor’s Offices in Ha’apai and Vava’u, and at the Offices of Government Representatives in Eua, Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu.
Meanwhile, a prominent NGO head in Tonga has called for a national forum on the events of the past week.
Last month Parliament was dissolved by royal decree and early elections were called.
The move was spurred by an approach to the King by the Speaker of the House who held concerns over the government's actions.
Drew Havea, who chairs both the Civil Society Forum and Leadership Development Forum, says the nation was not prepared for the dissolution and the issues it brought up.
Havea said the national discussion needed to continue.
"To be able to discuss, to be able to have dialogue, to be able to have a national forum on some of these issues, is something we need to look at. That will show us the strength of our democracy and where we are going with our democracy," Havea told RNZI
Havea said the discussions should not be framed around a people versus the monarchy narrative as that is not the issue in Tonga.
SOURCE: KANIVA NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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