11 Nov 2004

Tongan King to swell cabinet with elected representatives

10:15 am on 11 November 2004

A report in Tonga suggests the King has agreed to appoint four elected representatives as cabinet ministers.

The Tonga Broadcasting Corporation reports that the Prime Minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, has made a national address.

The prime minister has announced that King Taufa'ahau Tupou the Fourth has agreed to the appointment of four additional ministers from the elected members of the Legislative Assembly.

Two of the ministers will be selected from the nine noble members of the Legislative Assembly elected by the Kingdom's nobility.

The other two will be chosen from the nine elected representatives of the people.

The Prime Minister says he believes the widening of cabinet membership to 16 will be a natural progression of the Kingdom's political system.

The King has traditionally chosen ministers from outside parliament, who then become members of the House and don't have to seek election.

The appointments are expected to be made after the elections next March.