27 Oct 2008

Fiji military chiefs sets conditions for return to democracy

2:39 pm on 27 October 2008

Fiji's interim prime minister has told political leaders gathered for political discussion, that they need to support his change agenda, or there will be a delay in holding elections.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama opened the meeting, which includes the leaders of all the major political parties, in Suva this morning - the first such gathering since he carried out a coup in 2006.

"Megan Whelan reports."

In a statement released to the media, the Commodore says Fiji must return to Parliamentary democracy, but that that doesn't mean simply convening an election and handing power back to the traditional, self-interested, elitist leaders.

He says politicians have 2 options, the first, to move forward through dialogue, confidence building and by developing a broad-based consensus for the change agenda.

Commodore Bainimarama says the second option, in the absence of support for his change agenda from the political parties, will result in a protracted delay in the holding of parliamentary elections under a truly democratic electoral system.

He says the President's Political Dialogue Forum must get underway with due urgency and electoral reform must be its highest priority.