11 Dec 2008

Forum accepts Fiji canning of March poll, says Chaudhry

4:03 pm on 11 December 2008

The Fiji Labour Party leader says it appears that the Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers have accepted that Fiji won't hold elections by March.

Mahendra Chaudhry made the comment to Fijilive after meeting Forum foreign ministers in Suva.

The Forum has been saying that its stance is unchanged, expecting a return to democratic rule by March as promised by the interim regime more than a year ago.

The foreign ministers have met some of Fiji's stakeholders, including their Fiji counterpart, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who is also the interim prime minister, interim finance minister and the military commander that seized power two years ago.

According to Mr Chaudhry, the ministers have warned of the likely consequences Fiji may face should elections be unduly delayed.

One such result is Fiji's suspension from the Forum, with any such decision likely to be taken at the Special Forum meeting in Papua New Guinea next month.

However, the Fiji interim regime has said for weeks that elections next year won't go ahead as it wants to change the electoral system.

After the last Forum foreign ministers' visit in June, they found that elections were possible by March if there was a political will.