29 Aug 2008

Leading Tongan MP welcomes end of state of emergency

4:11 pm on 29 August 2008

Tonga's leading people's representative, Akilisi Pohiva, has welcomed the lifting of the emergency regulations in the kingdom.

The state of emergency was imposed across the kingdom in November 2006 after much of the centre of the capital Nuku'alofa was destroyed when violence erupted during demonstrations in support of democratic reforms.

It had been renewed on a monthly basis but restricted to the centre of the capital.

The prime minister's advisor, Lopeti Senituli, has confirmed that the emergency regulations have not been renewed.

However, the Tongan authorities have made no public announcement to that effect.

Mr Pohiva says he's happy about the development, but says it was expected.

"The government has been waiting until the end of the coronation ceremony. There was a fear on the part of government. It was very important for a smooth implementation of the coronation ceremony. We already completed that exercise, so there's no need for a further extension of the emergency law."

Akilisi Pohiva says government should publicly announce its decision.