20 Apr 2007

European Union tells Fiji delegation general election must be held by March 2009

9:27 am on 20 April 2007

The European Union is insisting that Fiji hold general elections by March 2009 and make wide range commitments to adhere to the rule of law as a condition for continuing to receive aid.

The Fiji Times reports that the EU has published a statement in Brussels listing the commitments it says Fiji has agreed to undertake.

The EU says it expects Fiji's interim administration to adopt by June 30th this year a schedule setting out the dates for the completion of steps to hold general elections.

It wants electoral boundaries and electoral reform determined in accordance with the constitution and measures taken to ensure the functioning of the Elections Office and the appointment of its supervisor in accordance with the constitution by September 30th.

The EU says the holding of the election would be subject to the assessment carried out by independent auditors appointed by the Pacific Forum secretariat.

The European Union also wants Fiji to appoint a vice president in accordance with the constitution and agree to the substantial independence and functioning of the Great Council of Chiefs.

Talks on the EU's 210-million US dollar aid to Fiji are currently under way in Brussels with a ministerial delegation from the interim administration