Election 2021 – the end of an era!

TOT – Nov 20, 2021 – Kalafi Moala

The people have spoken! It is time for change. On 18 November, nine new people’s representatives were elected and three new nobles’ representatives. Eight incumbents retained their seats, plus six nobles returning to the House, in an election that will probably go down as the most significant of the decade.

Significant because the political party or group that has influenced and led the development of the political landscape in Tonga for 34 years was all but got eliminated from Parliament.

The big winners are the independent candidates who will command a majority in the House to select a Prime Minister of their choice. Thirteen independents will become the majority group in Parliament. And if they can get Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa on their side, they will have the majority to vote in a new Prime Minister without needing any of the nobles’ vote.

The big losers are the PTOA representatives. They did not just lost the election; they brought to an end the incredible yet tattered legacy of a movement founded by the late Akilisi Pohiva.

Since his death in 2019, the PTOA followers, and especially those who were supposed to carry on their former leader’s mission in propagating democracy, became fragmented and fought among themselves.

PTOA lost six seats, including three of their leading representatives. The only seats still held by PTOA representatives are TT 8 (Semisi Fakahau), HP13 (Veivosa Taka), VV 14 (Dr. Saia Piukala), even though it is generally understood these three representatives are not hardcore in their commitment to PTOA.

They could easily be incorporated into a new government with independents. They are not even averse to working together with noble representatives if they see it is for the greater good.

PTOA lost the election by their own doing. They operated in a drive of over-confidence in a world of fantasy where they believed they can still form the next government. They failed to recognize that voters are not fools. They failed to recognize that sooner or later people will be fed up with their bickering and false hope of grabbing power, while their mission to fight injustice and corruption fell by the wayside.

The People’s Party (PAK), which was without a credible presence during the campaign retained one seat, held by the current Prime Minister and MP for Tongatapu 10.

It is the end of an era in which political affiliation, especially with PTOA, was key in determining the future of an MP. But this seems the beginning of a new era in which those who run independently with no political group affiliation control the voting in the House.

Voters this year seemed more interested in the individual candidate – their character and how suitable they could be for Parliament – rather than their political affiliation. Individual merit more important than political affiliation.

When the King urged people to “Vote Wisely”, the implication was that there needs to be a change in Parliament, and consequently in Government. People had to vote differently. Many took this to mean: “vote differently this time because the way you’ve voted before was not wise.”

Read full article here : TOT


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