1 Sep 2009

Academic sees signs backing for Fiji regime may be dissipating

2:53 pm on 1 September 2009

A leading academic on Fiji says there are signs support for Commodore Frank Bainimarama is waning, despite the interim regime's determination not to be swayed by the threat of suspension from the Commonwealth.

Today is the deadline the Commonwealth ministerial action group gave Fiji's military rulers to commit to holding elections by October next year or face full suspension.

The interim government has invited Commonwealth representatives to come to Fiji, and the former New Zealand Governor General Sir Paul Reeves could visit the country next week.

But a spokesperson for the interim government, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni says nothing will sway it from its roadmap towards holding elections in 2014.

Jonathan Fraenkel, an academic based at the Australian National University, says the interim government says it wants to delay elections to implement electoral reforms, but its really just trying to cling to power.

"One of the things that's quite noticeable is that you don't have so many grand statements of support for the regime coming out, even from interim ministers at the moment. Since the abrogation of the constitution in April, I think the whole show has come a little bit off the rails."

Jonathan Fraenkel says even government ministers don't seem to believe in the objectives of the 2006 coup anymore.