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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (October 31, 2001 - Radio New Zealand International)---A national referendum is to be held in Tuvalu before the end of the year to determine the country’s future form of government.

Tuvalu's High Commissioner to Fiji, Taukilina Finikaso, said the idea is to allow the people to decide what system of democratic government they want, including whether they want Tuvalu to become a republic.

Mr. Finikaso said the decision will resolve the long and complex issue that has been raised in Parliament and discussed throughout the country.

"The people have never been given a chance to decide on what sort of government they would like to adopt, whether it is a Westminster sort of model or a presidential power sort of model, as Kiribati is adopting," he said.

"And I think it has always been the wishes of our politicians that this is put through to the people."

Mr. Finikaso said the government has not yet announced a specific date for the referendum.

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

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