TONGA CONSIDERING NEW CONSTITUTION

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (January 6, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Tonga)---The South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga will consider a draft constitution suitable for the 21st century, at a major convention next week.

The four-day Human Rights and Democracy Convention begins in Nuku‘alofa on January 12.

Radio Tonga reports the convention's goal is to propose an alternative democratic structure, by providing a forum for educational dialogue and searching for a relevant constitutional model in the country's changing socio-economic environment.

Among speakers lined up for the convention is Sir Paul Reeves, the former Governor-General of New Zealand who chaired Fiji's Constitution Review Commission from 1995 to 1996. Most of his commission's recommendations were adopted in amendments to Fiji's controversial, racially weighted 1990 Constitution, last July.

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