Fiji unions regard party decree as regime fear of workers

Updated at 2:38 pm on 16 January 2013

The head of the Fiji Trades Union Congress says a decree governing political parties is a clear demonstration that the regime is running scared.

The elections minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has announced, but not publicly released, the new decree, which will give existing parties 28 days to re-register under the new terms, or they face being wound up.

Parties also have to have 5,000 signed-up members across the country's four divisions, up from the current 180, and union officials, among others, will not be allowed to form parties.

The Trades Union Congress has just announced plans to form a party, and its head, Felix Anthony, says unions are being discriminated against.

"This is a clear demonstration that this regime is running scared of workers in this country, and [it] really also demonstrates how hollow the regime's call is for multi-racial political parties and true democracy. So, this decree simply hinders the people of this country to choose freely a political party and to associate with it."

Felix Anthony says he will have to wait to see the decree before deciding what to do with the new party.

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