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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 6) - People's Representatives to the Tongan Parliament today called for government to hold a referendum, asking the Tongan people if they want the right to elect all of the 30 members of the Tongan parliament, so the King can appoint his Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers from among the elected members.

In a Press Conference at midday today 'Akilisi Pohiva, the Tongatapu no. 1 People's Representative, said it was urgent for a national referendum to take place, as a way forward following an upheaval within government, after three Cabinet Ministers were dismissed by the Prime Minister, Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata.

'Isileli Pulu, the Tongatapu No. 2 People's Representative said that a petition was to be presented to Parliament, calling for the referendum.

He said that seven of the nine People's Representatives have signed the petition.

"We are awaiting the signatures of the Vava'u no. 1 People's Representative and 'Eua People's Representative. Once they signed we will table the petition into the House."

'Uliti Uata, the Ha'apai no. 2 People's Representative said that the matter is very urgent and they were hoping for the referendum to take place before the Parliamentary election early next year.

September 7, 2004

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