7 Jul 2009

Wooing MSG, Fiji leader claims to have mandate to hold off elections

1:16 pm on 7 July 2009

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, claims to have a mandate to impose his rule for the next five years as he plans to explain his deferral of elections to the leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group in Vanuatu.

Commodore Bainimarama, who seized power in a coup in 2006, says he believes the MSG leaders meeting in Port Vila this week will appreciate what he calls the reality that elections won't be held until 2014.

The gathering comes ahead of next month's summit in Australia of the Pacific Islands Forum which suspended Fiji two months ago for its interim regime's refusal to relinquish power by holding elections this year.

Commodore Bainimarama has told Auckland's Radio Tarana that he hopes the MSG leaders, who supported Fiji's Forum suspension, will understand his regime's position.

"This special meeting is very critical to Fiji as I would like to personally share with my fellow MSG leaders Fiji's road map and the mandate that guides my government to ensure true, democratic, non-communal, equal sufferage-based elections for parliamentary representation are held by September 2014."

Commodore Frank Bainimarama