The Kingdom of Tonga has a population of approximately 100,000 people. Tonga is the only constitutional monarchy in the Pacific. Between 2006 and 2010, Tonga underwent a major constitutional reform and democratisation process. The Legislative Assembly formerly had 9 members elected by the entire country, 9 members elected by the Nobles of Tonga and any number of members appointed by the King. Following the reforms, the Legislative Assembly now comprises of 17 members elected by the entire country (called People's Representatives), 9 members elected by the Nobles of Tonga and up to 4 members appointed by the King. The Prime Minster is then chosen from amongst the members of the House.
The first elections under this new electoral system were held in 2010 whereby the election of members is conducted under the simple majority voting system of 'First-Past-the-Post' (FPTP). Under this system, the candidate with the most votes is elected. No women were elected during the 2010 elections. However, the King chose to appoint two members to the Legislative Assembly - one of whom was a woman.
Tonga held its second general elections under the new electoral system on November 27th 2014. The Tonga Electoral Commission announced a total of 106 candidates for the elections, 16 of whom were women (15.09%). In terms of voter registration, according to the Tonga Electoral Commission, as of September 22nd 2014, there were a total of 50,450 voters registered for the elections - 51% of whom were female voters. Unfortunately no women got elected into Parliament in 2014. Following a Supreme Court ruling in January 2016 that found the then Minister and Peoples Representative, Mr. 'Etuate Lavulau guilty of bribery and overspending during the 2014 elections, Mr. Lavulavu vacated his seat in the Legislative Assembly, and a by-election was held on July 14th 2016 to elect a new member of Parliament. Four candidates stood for the by-election, including Ms. Akosita Havili Lavulavu, wife of 'Etuate Lavulavu.
Hon. Akosita Havili Lavulavu polled 754 of the 1913 votes in the 2016 by-election and is currently the only female member of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga.
Hon 'Akosita Havili Lavulavu
Political Status: Peoples Representative
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