23 Sep 2004

Tonga referendum petition still not ready for presentation to parliament

10:18 am on 23 September 2004

A pro-democracy MP in Tonga says a petition calling for a referendum giving people a greater say in the make-up of parliament is still not ready.

Akilisi Pohiva says so far two thousand people have signed the petition including eight of the nine People's Representatives in parliament.

Mr Pohiva says the petition hasn't been to the outer islands yet.

It will be the second time a petition calling for a referendum has been presented to parliament.

Mr Pohiva says the pro-democracy MPs are taking their time to compile the petition so there can be no doubts about the legality of signatures.

He also says it will be the last time the MPs will present such a petition.

"We don't feel that we repeat it over and over again. We have come to a point where both parties have to either do this or do that. We can't afford to repeat having the same result over and over again."

Mr Pohiva says he aims to have the petition ready by the beginning of November.