14 Apr 2009

Fiji faces expulsion from Commonwealth according to observers

11:06 am on 14 April 2009

Fiji faces expulsion from Commonwealth according to observers.

The country's President threw out the constitution and sacked the judiciary last week, before reinstating the government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama, which the Court of Appeal had ruled illegal.

The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, has previously warned Fiji it has until September to show progress towards democracy, or face expulsion.

Dr Brij Lal, a Canberra-based academic who helped write Fiji's constitution, says that would cost Fiji vital international assistance.

"The Commonwealth advice will be heeded by other organisations, such as for example the European Union which is holding back a large sum of money put aside restructing of the country's ailing sugar industry. It might have impact on the peacekeeping mission in which Fijian soldiers have been a part. So opting out of the system does not do Fiji any good at all."

Brij Lal says it is unlikely Fiji will meet the September deadline.