24 Oct 2006

Tonga's Human Rights and Democracy movement welcomes govt's proposals

11:54 am on 24 October 2006

The chairman of Tonga's Human Rights and Democracy movement says the government's new proposal on political reform is a good sign of change.

The new proposal has veered from recommendations by the National Committee for Political Reform on some key points.

It would maintain the power of the Prime Minister and have fewer popularly elected representatives in the assembly.

The National Committee had proposed that all the members of the cabinet be drawn from the parliament, but the government suggests that two-thirds be elected, and a third be chosen by the King.

Reverend Simote Vea says the proposals represent about 60 to 70 percent of the changes the people are seeking.

"M eaning that now more people will be elected in government, especially ministers who will be sitting in the cabinet who are the elected members of parliament and also, they will hold a majority there, which is a totally very new development."

Reverend Simote Vea of the Human Rights and Democracy movement in Tonga.