15 Sep 2009

Call for large Tongan assembly to match cabinet weight

1:40 pm on 15 September 2009

A New Zealand political scientist, Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, says the size of the Tongan parliament planned under democratic reforms must be big enough to ensure it's not overwhelmed by the country's large Cabinet.

Tonga's Constitutional and Electoral Commission is now finalising its report on the nature of the reforms that should be put in place for next year's planned elections.

It is due to report back in November and Dr Koloamatangi is advising that if the commissioners accept the proposal for a Parliament of 26 MPs, it will be too small and not able to function as it should.

He says this is because of a likely Cabinet of about 15 ministers.

"Then there will be only nine or ten MPs who are not ministers. Say for argument's sake that those ten belong to not one party but two or three parties, then of course it will be difficult for them to form an effective opposition."

Canterbury University academic Dr Malakai Koloamatangi.