20 Apr 2004

Tuvalu considers constitution change

3:22 pm on 20 April 2004

There are moves in Tuvalu to make it easier to transform the state into a republic.

The string of atolls retained a constitutional monarchy with a Westminster-style government after independence from Britain.

Tuvalu's parliament has completed the first reading of a bill which would make it easier to change the constitution.

Attorney General Iakopa Italeli says the legislation would mean the constitution could change automatically as soon as the result of a referendum is known.

"It appears that this government wants the issue of whether to change the government to the republic or not, to go down to the people. The bill will then come to the parliament and parliament is then formalising the wish and the will of the people."

Mr Italeli says the government is not thought to have a timetable for the changes, but alterations could be made by the end of the year.