PETITION SEEKS REMOVAL OF TONGA PRIME MINISTER

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Sevele allegedly knew of ferry safety problems before tragedy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 24, 2009) – The people’s committee for political reform in Tonga has launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister and his deputy to step down over last month’s ferry tragedy.

Last month the Princess Ashika ferry sank, claiming 74 lives.

The Public Service Association is a member of the people’s committee and its secretary general, Mele ’Amanaki, says it has a copy of a letter proving that the prime minister knew the ferry to be unseaworthy.

Ms ’Amanaki says he has lost the support of the public and should be removed.

"We’re aware that there’ve been irresponsible decisions made by the prime minister and his cabinet. So we’re mobilising the whole country to sign the petition to the king to put the pm and his deputy out of office."

Mele ’Amanaki says the petition has been published in the newspaper and delegates will visit all villages to gather support.

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