29 Jan 2007

Tonga's Prime Minister says reform programme at same stage as last November

6:06 am on 29 January 2007

Tonga's Prime Minister says the political reform programme is still where parliamentarians left it last November.

Dr Feleti Sevele told a media conference that the government's proposal for the "talanoa, or talks, to continue" was still with parliament.

The Matangi Tonga website quotes Dr Sevele as saying the government's proposal for a tripartite committee was also still standing.

Dr Sevele said there were still slight differences over the number of Cabinet Ministers to be elected by the people; the government had proposed 14 while the Tu'ipelehake Committee on reform had suggested 17.

The Prime Minister said that his administration was committed to the Reform Program, first begun by the late King King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV in 2004

But he said in the end it had to be finalised by parliament, and not under a Kasia tree somewhere.

When asked what happened to the petition presented by some People's Representatives and their Pangi Si'I supporters during the rally that preceded the riots in November 16, the Prime Minister said he could not comment because of the investigation the was still being carried out.