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EAST-WEST CENTER’S HALAPUA NAMED TO TONGA COMMISSION Newly-appointed political reform commission to meet in January

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 26, 2008 ) – Gordon Ward, Tonga's former Chief Justice has been appointed as the Chairman of Tonga's new Political Reform Commission along with four other members who were named in a statement from the Privy Council today.

The other members are Hon Tu'ivanuavou Vaea, Dr Sitiveni Halapua Dr 'Ana Taufe'ulungaki and Sione Fonua.

The Lord Privy Seal, Sateki 'Ahio, stated that the appointments, effective from Monday, January 5, 2009, were made by the king in council under the Constitutional and Electoral Commission Act 2008 (as amended) on Friday November 21.

Mr.Ward was nominated by the Tongan Cabinet as the Chairman of the Commission. After resigning as Tonga's Chief Justice he served as President of the Fiji Court of Appeal from 2004-07, and had previous extensive experience in the judiciary in the Pacific Islands, and other countries.

His alternate member is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Hon Dr Langi Kavaliku.

Members of the Commission consist of one candidate each from the Peoples' and Nobles Representatives with two nominated from the Judicial Services Commission.

Hon Tu'ivanuavou Vaea was nominated by the Nobles' Representatives, with Noble Tu'i'afitu as his alternate.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua was nominated by the Peoples' Representatives with, Masao Paasi as his alternate.

The two candidates nominated by the Judicial Services Commission are Educationalist Dr 'Ana Taufe'ulungaki and lawyer Sione Fonua with 'Aisea Taumoepeau as their alternate member.

The Commission is required to hold its first meeting within ten days of January 5, 2009.

Matangi Tonga Magazine: www.matangitonga.to/home/

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