17 Oct 2008

Parliament in Tonga to first debate reform commission

1:51 pm on 17 October 2008

Tonga's Prime Minister says MPs still need to debate issues before the Constitutional and Electoral Commission can begin its deliberations on political reform.

The Commission is to consider options for reform ahead of planned early elections under a new system in 2010.

Don Wiseman has more:

"The membership of the Commission is yet to be revealed, with the Prime Minister Dr Fred Sevele saying the Government's unnamed candidate cannot take up his post before January. The Tonga Broadcasting Commission reports the Prime Minister also telling Parliament that MPs should settle on issues before the Commission begins its work. He says these include the number of electorates, the numbers of seats for the People's and the Nobles' Representatives and whether there should be seats for Tongans overseas. Meanwhile, the Ha'apai Number 2 People's Representative, Teisina Fuko, says he thought it was for the Commission to deal with all the reform-related proposals. But the Prime Minister says if MPs deliberate first it would make the Commission's work easier and quicker. He says he is confident all the work will be done by the 2010 deadline."