9 Nov 2006

Tongan government positive about reform report

3:23 pm on 9 November 2006

The Tongan government has told pro democracy activists that it has in principle accepted the report on political reform submitted last month.

The activists have presented a petition to the speaker of parliament calling for the report from the national committee on political reform to be debated immediately.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the government had earlier announced it would set up a sub-committee to further discuss the recommendations.

"The People's Representatives countered that the agenda of political reform would be buried in that sub committee. They don't know when they will address it and what kind of shape and form it will come out with. They want to specifically talk about it this year so they can make any appropriate amendments to the constitution next year, before the general election in 2008."

Mateni Tapueluelu says the petitioners were told that parliament will shortly vote to accept the report which he says is a more positive response than previously.