12 Sep 2005

Fears Tongan parliament may be suspended until next year

7:22 am on 12 September 2005

A democracy campaigner and academic in Tonga, Futa Helu, is looking at laying a complaint with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations about the running of parliament.

Last week, parliament was adjourned until the 19th of September without discussing the issue of democratic reform.

It had been hoped the issue would be on the agenda after a march involving thousands of people called for political change.

Mr Helu says there are now suggestions the house could be suspended for a long time.

"For the last 3 months, parliament or the Legislative Assembly has been terribly sketchy, that there would be a meeting once, for a week or so and now, I think, the premier has suggested to Cabinet to suspend parliamentary sessions for the whole rest of this year."