10 Jul 2007

Compromise likely as Tongan MPs study various plans on political reform

7:49 pm on 10 July 2007

One of the nine members of a tripartite committee set up in the Tonga parliament to consider political reform says they will search for a compromise.

The committee is to develop terms of reference tomorrow as the government restarts a process that came to an abrupt halt with the riots in November last year.

There are three plans before them, including one from the National Committee for Political Reform, which called for a parliament of 26 with 17 popularly elected MPs and 9 elected by the nobility.

The government had suggested fewer MPs elected by the people, while the pro-democracy movement wanted more.

The leading pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, who is on the tripartite committee, says he is expecting compromise.

"I think the main function of the committee will be an attempt to come up with some sort of modified model acceptable to all parties."

Mr Pohiva says he wants to see the changes in place in time for next year's national elections.