8 Nov 2010

Tonga campaigner says judicial changes must be overturned

11:24 am on 8 November 2010

A long time campaigner for political reform in Tonga, newspaper publisher Kalafi Moala, says one of the priorities of the new government must be to amend recent changes to the judiciary which saw the King take direct control of judicial appointments.

The independent Judicial Services Commission was also abolished.

Tongans get to elect most of their parliamentarians for the first time later this month and Mr Moala says the hastily made changes to the judiciary need to be reversed.

He says it'll be inappropriate for King George Tupou the 5th to have a role in the appointment of judges under the new system.

"This reform, what it does takes everything out of the hands of the monarchy and it is really for the government to handle that. And wherever the monarchy needs to come in it's the government that makes the decisions and make recommendations to the monarchy , if he's still got a say in some of the issues. But basically it is something for the government to do."