5 Mar 2009

Leading Tonga Pro-Democracy MP refutes claim that current reform moves are dangerous

3:18 pm on 5 March 2009

Tonga's leading pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, has denied a claim that parliament could put the country in a dangerous position by changing the system of government.

His comments follow an editorial on the Matangi Tonga news website that warns the country won't be able to structure a new system of government with a fully-elected parliament by 2010.

The editor, Pesi Fonua, argues that if more time isn't given to properly consider major reform, it could pave the way for parliament to be dominated by one group and a dictator to come to power.

However, Mr Pohiva says the Pro-Democracy Movement's proposal for change would see a transferral of power from the Monarchy to the people of Tonga.

"They will elect the seventeen members to the house and as I said, the nobles representatives will continue to remain at nine. So in the final analysis it's up to the people to do the checking of the House. If the members elected by the people fail to perform, people will throw them (out) in the next election."

Akilisi Pohiva