24 Jun 2008

Fiji council recommends electoral changes ahead of poll

7:28 pm on 24 June 2008

Fiji's National Council for Building a Better Fiji has recommended sweeping changes to the nation's electoral system before any vote to restore democracy.

The council says the electoral system is too complex and would hinder free elections.

It has recommended that Fiji's communal electoral system and compulsory voting be scrapped, in favour of a system of proportional representation.

Other recommendations include new anti-discrimination laws, reducing the voting age to 18 years, and repealing power-sharing provisions in the constitution.

The council is backed by the military government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who has ruled since seizing power in a coup in December 2006.

A statement from the council says that it is of the firm view that change is long overdue and that Fiji urgently needs a new electoral system based on equal suffrage.

The council's recommended changes will require altering Fiji's constitution, contravening a promise Commodore Bainimarama made to Pacific leaders last year.