5 Mar 2009

Bainimarama adamant elections will not go ahead this year

3:17 pm on 5 March 2009

Fiji's interim prime minister is adamant there will be no elections in the country this year, despite a deadline issued by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, or CMAG.

It has given Fiji a six-month deadline to restore democracy or face the full suspension of its membership, in the wake of a coup in 2006.

In a statement following a meeting in London, CMAG says it deplored the fact that Fiji remains in contravention of Commonwealth values and principles.

But Commodore Frank Bainimarama told Radio Tarana in Auckland that nothing is going to change.

He says if the Commonwealth wishes to suspend Fiji from the group come December, then they can go ahead and do it now.

"No is going to interfere in what we are trying to do here, not New Zealand, not Australia, not anybody else, nothing is going to be done. There is going to be no elections, no one is going to move us to elections next month for instance, or next two months. If we go into elections now, it's not going to serve any purpose."

Commodore Baiminarama says the Commonwealth's Secretary-General is expected to call him in the next few days, and he says he plans to tell him that nothing is going to change.

At a special meeting in Papua New Guinea in January, the Pacific Leaders Forum gave Fiji until the first of May to set a timetable for elections, or risk targetted measures.