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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (January 13, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Tonga)---Constitution-making and nation building are inextricably linked and a constitution will not work without a shared commitment to harmony, unity and social advancement for everyone.

That is the message that former New Zealand Governor General Sir Paul Reeves has given participants at a convention on constitutional reform in Tonga.

Organized by Tongan political activist and politician Akilisi Pohiva's pro-democracy movement, the four-day meeting is discussing amendments drawn up by the movement to the island kingdom's current constitution.

Among these constitutional reform issues is the deletion of the King of Tonga's right to nominate cabinet ministers to Parliament. These nominees are not democratically elected.

Reeves, who chaired Fiji's Constitution Review Commission from 1995 to 1996, said just writing rules for the governing of a country is useless without a spirit of co-operation and mutual confidence among the people.

He said the test of a new constitution is not who wins or loses in an election but whether the new constitutional framework is strong and transparent enough for the will of the people to be thoroughly expressed.

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