15 Jan 2013

Fiji regime culls trade unionists and public servants from politics

6:43 pm on 15 January 2013

The Fiji regime has decreed that public servants and trade union officials will not be allowed to belong to a political party or stand in next year's promised election.

The elections minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has outlined this amid a raft of changes in the new decree governing the registration of political parties, which comes into force this week.

He says existing parties have 28 days to re-register under the new terms, or they face being wound up.

Parties also have to have 5,000 signed-up members across the country's four divisions, up from the current 180.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has told FBC News that among others, members of statutory boards, cannot stand.

"For example, if I'm a board member of AFL I cannot be an applicant for a political party, nor can I be a member of the original members of the 5,000, nor can I be a judge or a magistrate, nor can I be holding any office in the public service, including the Fiji police force, the Fiji Corrections Service or the Republic of Fiji military forces, nor can I for that matter be an official of a trade union."

The decree also calls for transparency of party finances and it bans donations from private companies.

Last week, the regime dumped the draft constitution it commissioned last year.

It says a new draft will be discussed next month by a regime-appointed Constituent Assembly.