23 Feb 2007

Former Fiji PM says three year timetable for elections not unreasonable

10:22 am on 23 February 2007

The former Fiji prime minister and leader of two military coups in 1987, Sitiveni Rabuka, says the interim administration's time line for general elections to be held in three years in 2010 is "not unreasonable."

Mr Rabuka's response in the Fiji Times comes after pressure from New Zealand and Australia to hold elections within 18 to 24 months.

The first general election after Mr Rabuka's coups was held after 5 years in 1992.

Mr Rabuka also says plans by the interim administration to change the electoral process to non-racial voting can only be done with an elected government in power.

Mr Rabuka says as the constitution can only be changed by parliament, the 2010 elections would have to be held under the present arrangements.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, had said earlier that in proposing the changes they would be mindful that any changes could only be approved by an elected parliament.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, has since clarified that the electoral processes would be reviewed by a committee whose recommendations would be presented to the next elected parliament.