11 Nov 2004

Approval for changes to Tonga's cabinet make-up

4:47 pm on 11 November 2004

Historic changes to Tonga's government have met with approval from the pro-royalist Kotoa movement.

The Prime Minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, yesterday announced the King has agreed to appoint two elected peoples' representatives as cabinet ministers.

Two ministers will also be selected from the nine noble members of the Legislative Assembly.

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

Kotoa's Semisi Kailahi says the changes shows that the country's leaders are listening to the people's calls for reform.

"Even though the essence of the system should remain, that is, the king still be the head, but I think at the operational level we need that reform if we want to survive because there are a lot of new pressures and new problems approaching this nation especially in the economic side of it. So I think it's a good change to make."

Semisi Kailahi