19 Oct 2007

Fiji Labour Party fears pressure from Australia and New Zealand

11:09 am on 19 October 2007

The Fiji Labour Party says the country must not allow Australia and New Zealand to bully it into holding elections before it is fully prepared for it.

In a statement, the Labour Party president, Jokapeci Koroi, says Fiji cannot have a general prescription imposed on it that fails to address the fundamental problems it faces as a nation.

She says the Labour Party wants elections held only after a date has been set by the Electoral Commission and the electoral machinery has been cleaned up to ensure a free and fair voting process.

Mrs Koroi says the FLP has twice been the victim of massive vote buying, vote rigging and political interference with the elections process.

She says unless the system is overhauled, holding another election will be farcical.

Mrs Koroi has also criticised the Forum saying it has become "an annual ritual" that fails to satisfactorily address development issues related to Pacific Island countries.

The Labour Party president has accused Australia and New Zealand of dominating the Forum to push their own agenda.