7 Jul 2008

Fiji's ousted opposition leader to join President's Forum

5:51 am on 7 July 2008

A staunch critic of the interim administration has decided to join the President's Forum following talks with the Commonwealth's envoy to Fiji, Sir Paul Reeves.

Mick Beddoes, who is the leader of the ousted opposition, had threatened not to participate in the forum if it was going to be merely a rubber-stamping exercise for the interim administration.

The interim government has insisted on electoral reforms as a precondition for a March 2009 national elections in Fiji.

However, Mr Beddoes supports a broadening of the scope of the President's Forum.

He says most people want to talk about more than just electoral reforms and the interim regime's charter.

"Because I don't think just those two are necessarily going to solve the problems that we have, that we need to solve, before we go to elections."

Mick Beddoes says Sir Paul is a good man to have at the helm of these talks.

Sir Paul Reeves and European Union political advisor Albert Mariner met with political leaders and the head of the Catholic Church over three days.

Sir Paul will now formulate a draft terms of reference for a political dialogue tentatively scheduled for the end of August.