30 Oct 2013

Tonga Democrats to table more reform plans

2:42 pm on 30 October 2013

Tonga's opposition is planning further moves after last week's failure of a private member's bill to bring more democratic reforms to parliament.

Last week, Aisake Eke led an attempt to have the prime minister directly elected by the people but this was defeated in the Legislature Chamber.

But the leader of the Democratic Party, Akilisi Pohiva, says in the next session early next year, his party will be pushing for the people to elect all 26 MPs, including the nine nobles.

Currently the nobles are elected by the 33 noble families but Mr Pohiva says the people must elect all the members to ensure accountability.

He says under the present system the nobles are accountable to the nobility not the people.

"What will happen if all people elect all the Representatives of Parliament, including the nine nobles, the whole Parliament will be accountable to the people and not as we have it now."

Akilisi Pohiva of Tonga's Democratic Party.