26 Sep 2007

Fiji SDL party says emergency regulations block public response to election report

10:35 am on 26 September 2007

Fiji's Public Emergency Regulations are reported to be preventing Laisenia Qarase's SDL party from releasing a public response to an election report in which it has been severely criticised.

A Commission of Inquiry into last year's Fiji general election has expressed deep concern about the number of reported incidents that indicated serious intentional corruption, especially involving vote buying, vote casting and vote counting.

The report also expressed concern about the serious and unacceptable blurring by the SDL of the distinctions between party, government and the broader state during last year's general election and throughout the whole SDL period of government from 2001.

A party spokesman, Peceli Kinivuwai, says they have responded to the allegations to the Fiji Human. Rights Commission which commissioned the report prepared by Suva lawyer G P Lala, former SVT party president Taufa Vakatale and political scientist Dr David Neilson.

But Mr Kinivuwai has told Radio Legend they cannot release their response to the public because the Public Emergency Regulations are still in place.

The regulations were re-imposed early this month because the return of the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to Suva was considered a threat to national security,