7 Dec 2006

Fiji's FLP calls for a quick return to democratic rule

8:18 am on 7 December 2006

The Fiji Labour Party has called for a quick return to democratic rule amid the crisis.

Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry says the party's top hierarchy's calling on the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, to hand over executive authority to the President as soon as possible.

Mr Chaudhry - a hostage in the 2000 coup - says in a statement that the root cause of the standoff between the military and the government relates to issues of good governance.

He claims the endemic corruption and scams in government, fuelled by a powerful alliance between corrupt politicians, civil servants and unscrupulous businesspersons, further aggravated the already strained relations between the military and the government.

Mr Chaudhry says the current crisis stems from the last coup and the appointment of the Qarase interim administration, which he said had terrorist elements of the Speight-led coup.

He says Fiji's hasn't recovered from the last coup and the suspension of foreign aid will heavily impact on the poor.

He believes there's still time to salvage the situation but this would require major concessions and a desire to act in the interests of the nation.