20 Feb 2009

Leading pro-democracy MP in Tonga says King's powers must go

2:15 pm on 20 February 2009

Tonga's leading Pro-Democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, says the monarchy should lose all of its executive powers and become a purely ceremonial institution for the good of the country.

The role of the monarchy is among the key issues up for consideration by Tonga's Constitutional and Electoral Commission.

The Commission is looking at models for political reform and will present recommendations to Parliament by November..

Mr Pohiva says too many problems stem from the involvement of the monarchy in government and that Tongans want to change to a proper democracy.

"We'd like to maintain our monarchy but we do not want him to continue to be involved in the process of decision-making. We'd like to see a system which is accountable to the poeple, to the taxpayers."

However, Tonga's Prime Minister Feleti Sevele says it's too early for the monarchy to lose all of its executive powers.