14 Jun 2006

Commonwealth approves Fiji election outcome

3:02 am on 14 June 2006

The Commonwealth Observer Group which monitored last month's Fiji general election says while there were shortcomings, they do not believe there was a systematic effort to "fix" the process.

In their report just released in London, the group says the shortcomings were not on a sufficient scale, nor of a nature as to threaten the reliability, credibility and integrity of the operation as whole.

The Commonwealth Observers say conditions existed for free and fair elections and the results reflect the will of the people.

But they have recommended a shortening of the period of election from the eight days it took in May and a simplification of the processes used.

On the role of the military, the Commonwealth Observers say it is not the armed forces' role to be involved in or make statements about politics.

They say the armed forces must recognize that they are subject to the Constitution, the rule of law and the control of the government.

The Commonwealth Observers say any behaviour to the contrary will breed an atmosphere of fear in society, convey a sense of instability and insecurity to potential investors and inhibit Fiji's potential for development.