6 Sep 2005

Tongan king reportedly ready for political reforms

3:34 pm on 6 September 2005

The King of Tonga's private secretary, Honourable Ma'afu, says King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV accepts that there will have to be political reform soon.

This morning, more than 3,000 people marched to the royal palace to submit a petition calling for a democratically elected parliament.

It was the first petition to be signed by all nine of the popularly elected members in the 34-seat parliament.

Outside the palace the marchers were met by Ma'afu who accepted the petition on the King's behalf.

Ma'afu says although the king was not able to accept the petition he is aware of the calls for more democracy.

"I think he is, I think he is conscious that reform will happen and I think he is very conscious in what's going on in the political arena in Tonga."

Honourable Ma'afu