5 Jan 2011

Tonga cabinet meets amid Democrats' concerns

2:11 pm on 5 January 2011

The new cabinet in Tonga has held its first meeting, with two members of the Democratic Party of Friendly Islands accepting portfolios despite raising concerns about the cabinet make-up.

The cabinet includes six people's representatives, three nobles and two commoners chosen by the prime minister from outside the assembly.

The Democratic Party of Friendly Islands had raised concerns about the appointment of unelected individuals to cabinet, and the appointment of only two of its party's members when it had won 12 out of 17 constituencies open for democratic elections.

But one of its members, Isileli Pulu, says he and leader Akilisi Pohiva have accepted cabinet positions despite those concerns.

"Together with the party we had a meeting and we decided we had to work together for cabinet unity, together with the other members of the nobles and other independent members of parliament."

Isileli Pulu says they had tried to influence the cabinet appointments but it's up to the Prime Minister to decide.