25 Oct 2013

Tongan Parliament rejects bill on changes to election of PM

2:19 pm on 25 October 2013

The Tongan Parliament has voted down a private member's bill that proposed direct election of the Prime Minister by the people.

The People's Representative 'Aisake Eke also proposed that a caretaker government be installed before next year's election.

The MPs voted the bill down 15 to six.

The bill also proposed changes to the way motions of no confidence are brought in Parliament.

'Aisake Eke says he thinks the bill may have been defeated because it also tried to rule out the current practice of having up to four non-Parliamentarians chosen as cabinet members.

"That element to me was highly politically charged, the four non-elected members. But I reflected on my own experience and I thought the same experience was felt by the other members and also I saw the support from the people outside."

'Aisake Eke says he is thinking of introducing some of the changes as individual bills, or as referenda so the people can vote, after Parliament re-opens in February.