1 Oct 2007

Fiji interim PM tells UN his administration will eradicate racial voting

11:27 am on 1 October 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister has told the United Nations General Assembly that the country will do away with its racial voting system to enable all citizens to vote for one candidate whatever their race.

Commodore Bainimarama said the current voting system has kept Fiji's races apart.

As well, he said, researchers have suggested that Fijians live in a democracy with a mentality that belongs to the chiefly system, meaning that they vote for the candidate selected for them by their chiefs, their provincial councils, and their church ministers.

Commodore Bainimarama said this must change with every person given the right to vote for only one candidate irrespective of race or religion.

He said electoral reform will be examined by the soon to be established National Council for Building a Better Fiji and, in the absence of parliament, put to a national referendum to get the people's mandate.

Commodore Bainimarama has questioned whether countries which are pressing Fiji to hold elections immediately really understand how distorted the electoral system has been both legally and culturally.