1 Nov 2007

Tonga plans elections next April - pro-democracy MPs want delay to allow for reforms

8:32 pm on 1 November 2007

The Tongan Government, which plans to bring in political reforms by 2010, says elections are to be held in April under the present voting system.

But pro-democracy MPs, who boycotted the close of Parliament today in protest at the lack of opportunity to further debate reform, say the election should be delayed to allowed the next poll to be fought under the new system.

The leading pro-democracy advocate Akilisi Pohiva says this would fit with the recommendation of Prince Tu'ipelehake's National Committee For Political Reform.

"One of the basic recommendations is for political change to be started in the next election and that is 2008. But it may not be possible to conduct the election in March next year - it could be delayed until late next year. November - 0ctober or November so that we can have time to do the amendments of the constitution."

Akilisi Pohiva