21 Oct 2008

Fiji's interim Prime Minister writes to political parties to request meeting

12:31 pm on 21 October 2008

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has written to political parties requesting a meeting next week and expressing his desire to conduct an election as soon as practicable.

The Fiji Times says he told political leaders the agenda would be open and flexible but within the overall objective to move towards constitutional and democratic governance.

The purpose of the meeting, Mr Bainimarama said, is to make a head start on the agenda and terms of reference for the presidential political dialogue forum since six months had lapsed after the request was made by Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

He requested Dr Sitiveni Halapua of the Pacific Islands Development program of the East West Centre and Robin Nair, a member of the President's Independent Monitoring Group, to be independent interlocutors.

Political parties have been given until Wednesday to respond.

The SDL party leader, Laisenia Qarase, said they would participate in the forum, even though there were some reservations regarding the interlocutors.

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the party would meet this week to decide whether or not to accept the invitation.

National Federation Party general secretary Parmod Rae said they had expressed reservation regarding the two men acting as interlocutors.