4 Sep 2003

Tonga parliament delays second reading of proposed constitutional amendments

10:24 am on 4 September 2003

The People's Representatives in the Tongan Legislative Assembly have won more time to try and convince the Government to drop plans to change the constitution.

The planned amendments, which would introduce severe restrictions on the ability of the media to operate, passed their first reading last month.

The amendments were due to be debated this week but Dr Fred Sevele says 8 of the 9 Peoples Representatives convinced the Speaker to delay the second reading until the first week of October.

Dr Sevele says the extra time gives them a chance to inform the people of the implications of the changes by visiting the towns and the villages.

"And hopefully, if they believe the changes shouldn't be brought in, then they will sign petitions and even present themselves during the week when we debate the proposed amandments in the House, in or around Parliament house."