23 Jan 2007

Ousted Fiji PM doubts military commander will push towards fresh elections

7:41 pm on 23 January 2007

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister says he doesn't believe the military commander will lead the country towards fresh elections.

Laisenia Qarase made the comment following reports that it could be up to five years before general elections are held to replace the interim administration.

Mr Qarase says he believes Commodore Frank Bainimarama wants to be in control for as long as possible.

And he says Fiji's being run by what he describes as a brutal military regime.

"It is really a military regime at the moment, and a quite brutal one at that. The interim ministers are really his puppets, they are playing to his tune. And his agenda is to be there as long as he can."

The Fijilive news website says five years is the time frame the interim government has given itself to complete its clean-up campaign.