25 Jan 2005

Fiji PM dismisses speculation of early election

7:15 pm on 25 January 2005

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has dismissed speculation of an early general election.

The Daily Post quotes Mr Qarase as saying his government would complete its five year term and the country would go to the polls in the middle of next year.

Mr Qarase also says the next general election will cost 12 million US dollars, up from the 10 point five million the 2001 poll cost.

Meanwhile, the ruling SDL party has also expressed concern that an influx of Labour Party supporters in the Suva-Nausori area would cause an ethnic imbalance and turn some marginal seats into battle field constituencies.

The SDL secretary general, Jale Baba, has accused Labour of deliberately orchestrating this movement of people from the north and the west.

But Labour says the urban drift is the outcome of the SDL government's policies which include lack of development in rural areas, non-renewal of expiring farm leases the collapse of the sugar industry and poverty.