15 Oct 2008

Concerns over continuing delay in set up of Tonga's political reform commission

2:06 pm on 15 October 2008

The pro-democracy movement in Tonga says the Government needs to quickly choose its members of the Constitution and Electoral Commission so the body can begin deliberating.

The planned five-member Commission, to consider the nature of political reform to be implemented ahead of planned early elections in 2010, was announced in July, just before the coronation of King George Tupou 5th.

The members are to include one nominated by Cabinet, one by the Nobles, and two by the Judicial Services Commission, while the People's Representatives have already nominated academic Sitiveni Halapua.

The pro-democracy movement's spokesperson, the Reverend Simote Vea, says the time frames are now getting tight if the body is to complete its work on time.

He says there should have been a timetable set for the establishment of the Commission.

"That was the problem. There was no time frame for the nomination of the Commission. They set time for the Commission and its work and the process but they didn't set time for the actual nomination of committee and when to start. So that was a little bit the loophole of the bill that was passed for the Commission."

The Reverend Simote Vea