22 Jan 2013

Fiji political party decree flawed, says academic

4:25 pm on 22 January 2013

A Fiji academic says the country's new political party decree needed to be much better thought out.

The decree seeks to regulate the registration and formation of political parties, including by making them have 5,000 signed-up members.

The University of Auckland's Dr Steven Ratuva says the constitution drafted by the Professor Yash Ghai, and since dropped by the interim government, recommends a proportional electoral system.

He says the aim of that was to move away from an ethnic-based system.

"Political parties in Fiji, over the years, have contributed in many ways to political instability, through ethnic mobilisation, and through all sorts of political leveraging, which just created conditions for political instability. But instead of having a regulatory framework which encourages the existence of political parties they went to the extreme."

Dr Steven Ratuva says the drafters may not have foreseen the implication of the decree.