10 Nov 2009

Tonga civil society to explain proposed reforms

2:29 pm on 10 November 2009

Tonga's civil society forum has held talks with the government about helping the people grasp political reforms that could form the basis of an election in 12 months.

The Constitutional and Electoral Commission's final report details how the country could become more democratic, with a majority of the Legislative Assembly elected by the people, the King's powers cut and the Privy Council removed from the executive.

The Commission suggests a single transferable vote and makes other changes to the electoral system but says it won't work if the people do not understand or accept.

The civil society forum's Drew Havea says the changes will be immense and his group wants to help with civics education if the Assembly endorses the report.

"We are already working with Government in looking at intervention in certain phases as this goes on and how can we get the message out so that the people will be prepared when November comes."

Drew Havea