1 Jun 2007

Tonga PM doubts political reforms can be in place for elections next year

11:55 am on 1 June 2007

The Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Feleti Sevele, says his personal opinion is that political reform cannot be achieved in time for next year's election.

He says the process of reform should continue but it must be in a peaceful dignified manner.

A new parliamentary session began yesterday, amid demands from organisations such as the Public Servants Association that the changes needed to ensure greater democracy should be in place prior to next year's poll.

Dr Sevele says the tripartite committee, agreed to before the riots, should consider the three options and report back to the other MPs.

But he says any changes will take time.

"I am quite sure that it won't be ready for next year, but these are things we need to discuss, agree on in the House, but that is my personal assessment of the situation and I think most people would agree with that."