|'Atenisi Institute's Dr Michael Horowitz with two Tongan newspapers --
Koe Kele'a and Talaki -- at the seminar |
at Auckland University of Technology this week. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
THE FUTURE of Tonga’s Democracy Coalition remains uncertain as next year’s election draws closer, a Nuku’alofa-based educator has concluded in a public seminar in Auckland last night.
Dr Michael Horowitz, dean of Tonga’s ‘Atenisi Institute, told the audience at his seminar entitled Can the Democracy Coalition retain power in Tonga? the fate of the party – and with it the election due late next year — was impossible to predict.
This is largely due to the fact no survey research is conducted, continuing Tonga’s “big surprise” election-day tradition, Dr Horowitz said.
Dr Horowitz, also a visiting research scholar with Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre, said the Democracy Coalition may just hold on to power despite a bumpy term littered with controversy.
These controversies included a petition in 2015 for Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva to surrender his education portfolio over the so-called “raw marks” policy controversy and the “cloudy issue” of state-owned Tongan Broadcasting Commission head of news Viola Ulakai’s suspension over alleged false representation, which prompted questions about Tonga’s media freedom status across the Pacific.