29 Aug 2008

Fiji Labour Party urges NZ and Australia to understand Fiji's electoral systems

4:07 pm on 29 August 2008

Fiji's Labour Party says New Zealand and Australia should read the report on Fiji's electoral system to understand why the country won't hold elections by next March.

Fiji faces suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum if it does not hold elections as promised, but a charter is proposing to change the electoral system.

The party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says pressure by New Zealand and Australia won't force Fiji into holding elections by that deadline, because the current electoral system is racially divisive.

Fijilive quotes Mr Chaudhry as saying that he agrees with the charter suggestion that communal seats be reduced to 25 and that there be 45 open seats in the 70-member parliament.

He says if there was a race-based electoral system in Australia and New Zealand, the two countries would not make such comments.

However, seven of the New Zealand parliament's 120 seats are reserved for politicians chosen by those registered on the Maori electoral rolls.