Tongan Government Taking 'Big Risk' Trying To Assume Appointment Authority

PM Pohiva's moves face opposition from  political scientist, democracy advocate 

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 24, 2017) – A political scientist says it would be a big risk for Tonga's government to take on the appointments of key public servants.

Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva's government is now drafting amendments that would allow it to control the appointments for roles such as the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General, which are currently handled by the Privy Council with the King.

There has been opposition to the government's push from widely differing sectors and the director of Massey University's Pacific Research Centre, Malakai Koloamatangi, agrees, saying it would be about the balance of power, accountability and transparency.

[PIR editor's note: On May 24, 2017 RNZI reported that 'A long time democracy campaigner in Tonga says the government is wrong to push to control the appointments of key officials such as the police commissioner and attorney general. ... But publisher Kalafi Moala, who campaigned for democracy alongside Mr Pohiva for many years, says there is a need to maintain the separation of powers to avoid a possible conflict of interest.']

"These things are considerations that were previously voiced by the Prime Minister and his party, so one would expect that that is carried out presently."

"So to want to control a number of these things or not to be accountable is problematic, democratically," he said.

Radio New Zealand International
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