31 Aug 2011

Tonga Opposition welcomes independent appointments to key posts

6:40 pm on 31 August 2011

The appointments of two foreign lawyers to fill key roles in Tonga has been welcomed by the country's opposition.

A New Zealand lawyer Harry Waalkens is to become the interim Lord Chancellor, with his key role to oversee judicial and other appointments.

In addition, the chair of the Electoral Commission, Barrie Sweetman, has been appointed the interim Attorney General, replacing deputy prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu.

The deputy leader of the Friendly Islands Democratic Party, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, says Mr Vaipulu could not legally hold that role, so he says the opposition is pleased the appointments have been made.

"Since the political change took place with the election in November last year this government has been running without the independent Attorney General, and of course, the Lord Chancellorship is crucial for the advice given to His Majesty, particularly for judiciary appointments, so we are very happy with the progress now being made."