29 Jul 2008

Tonga King's power handover welcomed

8:30 pm on 29 July 2008

Three people's representatives behind the push for political change in Tonga say the King's announcement that he will surrender his power is great news for the country.

Akilisi Pohiva says King George Tupou the Fifth's announcement almost makes the years of activism worthwhile and sets an excellent tone for his coronation later this week.

Richard Pamatata reports from Tonga

"Mr Pohiva who represents Tongatapu says issues remain but he is certain the transition to a more equal political structure will be very smooth. One of the representatives for the Ha'apai Islands says the King's action shows he is truly working for his people and they will respond. Teisina Fuko says his group will now take down its signs criticising the King and government and get behind the coronation. Mr Fuko says the King will retain his cultural power allowing people to respect him in a Tongan way, but they will run the country."