23 Oct 2013

Tonga opposition proposes bigger role for common voters

4:50 pm on 23 October 2013

A member of Tonga's opposition Democratic Party has proposed a series of reforms to make the country's political system more democratic.

This comes after the election three years ago that allowed for the first time a majority of MPs to be chosen by the people.

Aisake Eke says he wants to see the popular election of the prime minister, an end to non-elected members being included in cabinet, tighter controls on spending by caretaker governments and clarifications on how votes of no confidence work.

Mr Eke says having the MPs themselves choose the prime minister denies the people a say.

He says such a change would have two benefits.

"One is the public is behind him. He is a public figure elected by the people rather than someone elected by a constituency, and the second is allow an opportunity, a timeline, a timeframe in which [prospective] prime ministers and other people can have a common understanding and also establish their confidence that this is the right one."

Aisake Eke of Tonga's opposition Democratic Party