10 Nov 2009

Tonga government reform welcomed

1:49 pm on 10 November 2009

The Peoples Democratic Party in Tonga is describing as "marvellous" a recommendation to turn the country into a constitutional monarchy, run by an elected Parliament.

The advice comes in the Constitutional and Electoral Commission's final report on a proposed new system of government to be introduced for Tonga next year.

The report recommends the King and Privy Council no longer be part of the executive, which should only be answerable to the Legislative Assembly.

The King would no longer have the power to appoint the Prime Minister or ministers at his pleasure.

It says he could only appoint the Prime Minister on the advice of the Legislative Assembly and ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Commission has recommended the number of people's representatives in Parliament be increased from 9 to 17, with nine nobles representatives.

Tonga's People's Democratic Party president Teisina Fuko says several political parties are already informally established and he expects the November 2010 election to be run under a party system, like other countries such as New Zealand and Australia.

In New Zealand, Tonga Advisory Council chairman Melino Maka says the recommendations, including a greater number of People's Representatives, is the change people want.