16 Dec 2009

Tongan political party calls for interim measure on reform recommendations

9:56 pm on 16 December 2009

A Tonga political party says an interim Parliament should be elected to consider the recommendations for greater democracy compiled by the Constitutional and Electoral Commission.

The Paati Langfonua Tu'uloa is one of several that had called for the recommendations to be endorsed immediately when the Commission's report was made public just over a month ago.

But there have been weeks of debate about the recommendations in the Assembly with Cabinet pushing for a number of changes.

The party's general secretary, Kamipeli Tofa, is worried that many MPs lack independence of thought and many are motivated by self-interest.

He says the best thing would be for a new Parliament to be put in place under the new electoral rules, and for that body to then consider any other changes which might be necessary.

"With 17 members elected by the people and nine by the nobles and maybe under the existing monarchy because he has made it very clear that he wants no involvement in politics. With that new parliament they can then address some of the issues, or points of difference, that are currently existing in the existing parliament."