19 Jun 2008

New Zealand's Foreign Minister condemns Bainimarama's suggestion

10:13 am on 19 June 2008

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters has condemned suggestions that Fiji's promised election next year might be postponed.

Fiji's military leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama has told visiting European Union officials the ballot could be delayed by reforms of the electoral system.

He had already assured Pacific Forum leaders the vote would be held next March, and Winston Peters says the change of stance is unacceptable.

"He appears to be willing to turn his back on commitments to the Pacific Forum leaders group last year. I think this is a very serious for the Fijian people and the Fijian economy. Our advice would be to not risk the reaction of the EU, to backing down on commitments made to them as well."

Winston Peters says the comments raise legal and constitutional issues that should concern everyone wanting legitimate government in Fiji.