INDEPENDENT TONGAN MP POHIVA SAYS CROWN PRINCE WILL HAVE INFLUENCE

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (January 5, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The leader of Tonga's fledgling democracy movement, Akilisi Pohiva, says Crown Prince Tupouto‘a will continue to be influential in Tongan politics, even though he will not be prime minister.

In a surprise move, the King appointed his youngest son, 41-year-old Prince Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, to the position, following the retirement of Baron Vaea.

Analysts say the crown prince's support for constitutional change may have cost him the job.

Mr. Pohiva said, however, that the crown prince has the ear of the new prime minister and the king.

"I think even though Tupouto‘a is not the prime minister, I think he will still be very influential from behind the scenes in the process of decision-making.

"I think he will find it easy to discuss and to talk to the prime minister, his brother, and also so his majesty."

The crown prince will continue to be very influential in the future, Mr. Pohiva said.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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