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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 4) – A petition calling for greater democracy in Tonga has been thrown out without being discussed in the Legislative Assembly.

The petition, prepared by the Tongan pro-democracy movement and seven of the Legislative Assembly’s eight elected representatives, was signed by more than 200 people.

The 30-member Assembly is dominated by lawmakers appointed by the king.

It was presented last week but on Monday, members voted 15 to 10 against discussing it after a call for vote by the Speaker.

Pro-democracy Member of Parliament Akilisi Pohiva says this was a dictatorial move because all petitions are meant to be discussed by the Assembly.

He says their only recourse is to appeal directly to the King.

"This is the only venue left for us to explore - a petition to his majesty."

October 5, 2004

Radio New Zealand International:



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