10 Jan 2007

Fiji Labour leader says last general election rigged

4:28 pm on 10 January 2007

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says he is fully aware of the criticisms aimed at him for joining the military appointed interim cabinet.

Mr Chaudhry, whose government was also removed by a military coup in 2000, has been appointed as the interim minister for finance, sugar industry reform and national planning.

He says the actions of the ousted government of Laisenia Qarase was one of the reasons he accepted the appointment.

"Corruption was rampant in the previous government of Mr Qarase. But aside from that Mr Qarase also came in through rigged elections the elections that were held in both 2001 and 2006 were not fair."

He says during the 2001 and 2006 general election there was massive vote buying using taxpayers money and New Zealand was aware of it because it was the subject of an audit inquiry.

One person has been jailed following that inquiry with others facing investigations.