22 Mar 2005

Pro-democracy MP in Tonga wants more cabinet appointments in future

10:27 pm on 22 March 2005

A leading pro-democracy MP in Tonga, Akilisi Pohiva, says they will continue to push for further peoples' representatives to be appointed to the cabinet.

Mr Pohiva was speaking after two MPs elected by the people, Fred Sevele and Peauafi Haukinima, were appointed by the king for the first time ever, to take part in the twelve member cabinet.

The pro-democracy MP says he believes the government is open to further such moves, especially after discussions he had with the prime minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata.

"He told me in cabinet that government will continue to increase the number of people's representatives in privy council and cabinet, in the future. And, I said that it would be most appropriate for government to put up a time frame for this process, to speed up the process.'"

Mr Pohiva says they will introduce a motion or a private bill into parliament calling for the government to commit to a time frame.

In the 30 member parliament, nine representatives are chosen by the nobles, the king appoints 12 to what becomes the cabinet, and only nine are elected by the people of Tonga.