16 Apr 2010

Ouster of Nobles from parliament touted as next Tonga move

3:50 pm on 16 April 2010

A New Zealand academic says Tonga's popularly elected MPs are likely to push for the removal of the nobles seats following elections under democratic reforms in November.

Dr Malakai Koloamatangi of the University of Canterbury says Thursday's enactment of legislation to allow for 17 MPs to be elected by the people is an historic development for Tonga.

The legislation also allows for the nobility to continue to elect nine MPs but the pro-democracy movement can be expected to try and change this.

Dr Koloamatangi says the movement had told the Constitutional and Electoral Commission, on which many of the current changes are based, that it was 80 percent happy with the recommendations.

"And the remaining 20 percent is because of the Nobles' representation in parliament. I presume if the Nobles were removed then they would be a 100 percent satisfied with the recommendations made by the commission."