2 Dec 2008

European Parliament group ends visit to Fiji and says 2009 elections should go ahead

11:20 am on 2 December 2008

A European Parliament delegation has concluded a visit to Fiji and says it can see no reason why Fiji cannot hold elections next year.

Its comment comes despite repeated statements by the Fiji interim regime that it won't hold elections in 2009.

The Fiji budget, which was presented last month, also makes no provisions for elections.

And Fiji's election office says it will take more than a year to organise polls once a decision has been made on what sort of election system will be used.

According to Fijivillage, the development committee for the European Parliament has met a wide range of stakeholders and is of the view that there needs to be a swift return to democracy following the last military coup two years ago.

The delegation's head, Gabriele Zimmer, says they are also of the view that the interim government is not working towards elections.

Calls by the international community to have elections by March have been dismissed by the Fiji interim regime.