14 Sep 2007

Tonga's Parliament votes to bring in political reforms in 2010

5:41 pm on 14 September 2007

Tonga's parliament has agreed on a timetable for political reform to be implemented by 2010.

The matter was referred to the House following the recent collapse of the tripartite committee, established by Parliament in July to consider political reform.

One of the two key matters on which the committee, which was made up of nobles, cabinet members and people's representatives, could not agree was the timing for political reform.

Pro-democracy MPs wanted reforms in place by next year or 2009 at the latest but the government insisted more time is needed.

Our correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu says in the end the government-controlled assembly made the decision.

"But obviously the People's Representatives did not agree to it. They have tried to compromise on the timing because the government stood firm on 2010, while the People's Representatives tried to compromise from 2008 to 2009. That wasn't agreed upon - in fact the Government got their way through."