20 Mar 2007

Exiled Fiji PM says support for him stronger than ever

7:01 pm on 20 March 2007

Fiji's exiled Prime Minister claims he would sweep into power if general elections were held in the country within two years.

Laisenia Qarase made the comment after a summit of Pacific Forum Foreign Ministers in Vanuatu last week recommended Fiji return to democracy as soon as possible.

The crux of the meeting was the view Fiji should hold general elections earlier than the three-year time frame given by the regime.

It recommended a joint working group of forum officials be set up to engage with the government and report back to the Eminent Persons Group within three months.

Mr Qarase says his support, particularly amongst the indigenous population, is stronger than ever.

"My view is that my party's going to walk in if we have an election within two years and I think the main point is the military commander must get out of the system. He is the cause of all these problems."

Mr Qarase says the military's afraid that if he goes back to Suva there could be a public uprising.