4 May 2006

Pro-democracy MP in Tonga welcomes government appointment

11:22 am on 4 May 2006

A leading pro-democracy MP in Tonga says the appointment Lopeti Senituli as a political aide and adviser to the Prime Minister shows the government supports the work his movement is doing.

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, who has been campaigning for political feform for over a decade, says it shows the prime minister is sympathetic to the idea of democracy.

"He's also a member of the executive committee of the movement. Lopeti is deputy chairman of the Human Rights and Democracy Movement. Those two are people from our movement, they are occupying a top position in government and I think they will do a good job."

Mr Pohiva says the annoucment is positive and the kingdom has taken another step towards change.