3 May 2006

Hiring of Tongan democracy advocate welcomed

7:47 pm on 3 May 2006

A leading pro-democracy MP in Tonga, Akilisi Pohiva, says the appointment Lopeti Senituli as a political aide and adviser to the Prime Minister is a sign the kingdom is moving towards a more democratic form of government.

The Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele appointed Mr Senituli, who is the deputy chair of the Human Rights and Democracy Movement.

The appointment follows the confirmation of the former pro-democracy MP Sevele as Prime Minister last month, making him the first commoner to hold the position.

Akilisi Pohiva says the move is a positive step.

"It's not only a step forward but it is a clear indication of the support of the government of our work as a movement, pushing for political change or moving towards establishing a democratic government in the country."