11 Nov 2004

Pro-royalist movement backs changes to Tonga cabinet

2:56 pm on 11 November 2004

Tonga's Kotoa movement says historic changes to cabinet appointments have come at the right time.

The Prime Minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, yesterday announced the King has agreed to appoint two popularly elected representatives as cabinet ministers.

Cabinet numbers will increase by four with another two ministers selected from the nine noble members of the Assembly.

The King has traditionally chosen ministers from outside parliament, who then become members of the House and don't have to seek election.

But the Prime Minister says the new widening of cabinet membership to 16 will be a natural progression of Tonga's political system.

Kotoa's Semisi Kailahi says this is the type of reform Tonga needs to cater for the challenges the nation faces now it has more to do with the outside world...

"I think it's the right move to do. And I like it that way because we've been going gradually, changing slowly, without really damaging the system at the moment, and because there are changes introduced in other countries that seem to cause more trouble than good for the country."

Semisi Kailahi