Three of Fiji's political parties now registered

Updated at 7:08 am on 3 May 2013

Three political parties in Fiji have succeeded in gaining registration under the Fiji regime's controversial new rules on political parties.

The government says the Fiji Labour Party, the National Federation Party and the renamed SDL Party - Sodelpa - are now allowed to operate legally.

Sally Round reports.

"The decree required parties to sign up at least five thousand members across Fiji and there were hefty fines and imprisonment if anyone held themselves out as representing a party without it being registered. Some of the parties had complained the rules were ridiculous and draconian and some politicians complained of unnecessary hold ups in the registration process. But the government said it had to investigate allegations of fraud and the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, says he's taken a liberal approach to assessing the parties' applications. He says each party's membership lists had anomalies but he's now satisfied they have the required number of valid signatures. Mr Saneem says the anomalies have been referred to authorities including the police for investigation. The parties now have a month to submit details of their finances."

Next story in Pacific: UN concerned at crackdown in Indonesia's Papua