12 Dec 2009

Tonga's Prime Minister wants to keep power to appoint outsiders to Cabinet.

7:27 am on 12 December 2009

The Tonga Government is opposing another recommendation of its own Constitutional and Electoral Commission.

The Commission made more than 80 recommendations aimed at moving the country towards greater democracy and these have been under consideration by MPs for the past month.

The Government is against the Commission's recommendation for multi seat constituencies and now it's also opposing the idea that the Cabinet be drawn entirely from the elected Assembly.

It wants the Prime Minister to retain some authority to appoint Ministers from outside of Parliament as our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, explains.

"The government is saying that because it is going to be the first time that we have such democracy in Tonga, there has got to be some kind of safety valve, just in case we don't have the kind of competent people that are elected by the people, and therefore the Prime Minister should be free to pick some competent people from outside."

Mateni Tapueluelu says the People's Representatives regard this as a slap in the face for those who go on to win next year's elections.