4 Jul 2005

Tuvalu to complete review on possible referendum

9:32 am on 4 July 2005

Tuvalu says it is nearing the end of public consultations and may proceed to hold a referendum by the end of the year on whether to replace the British Queen as the head of State.

Tuvalu's Prime Minister, Maatia Toafa, had said he hoped a referendum on the decade-long issue would be held by the end of June.

He says discussions are nearly complete with seven outer island communities on Funafuti still to be consulted.

He says this should be finished soon, after which Cabinet will decide whether to go ahead with a referendum, which would hopefully be held by the end of the year.

Mr Toafa says people's responses have been mixed.

"It's up to Government, your know the Cabinet or government, to think twice, you know, and depending on the last part of the consultation, which I believe will take another month or so, by then we will be able to decide whether we should go ahead or just leave it as it is."

Maatia Toafa.