27 Mar 2008

Fiji interim regime head says electoral system needs to be changed

8:31 pm on 27 March 2008

Fiji's interim prime minister and military commander, Frank Bainimarama, has told the National Council for Building a Better Fiji that the electoral system needs to be reviewed.

Commodore Bainimarama says the current race-based communal election system has failed to deliver social cohesion and inter-ethnic cooperation.

The constitution provides for 25 of the 71 seats in the House of Representatives to be chosen by all voters while the others are filled according to race-based ballotting.

Commodore Bainimarama says the work on the People's Charter is an absolutely vital part of the preparation for the general election scheduled for March 2009.

Meanwhile, three new members have joined the National Council to replace three who resigned.

Those joining are Tahir Hussain Munshi, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro and Urmila Prasad Jokhan.

One of the people to resign was the former opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, who was upset about last month's deportation of the Fiji Sun editor.