27 Sep 2014

Fiji grateful for Commonwealth return

5:32 pm on 27 September 2014

The Commonwealth secretary-general says he is impressed by the number of female MPs elected to Fiji's parliament and the fact that the country is to have its first female speaker.

Fiji First leader Frank Bainimarama addresses the rally in Suva.

Fiji First leader Frank Bainimarama addresses a rally in Suva before the election. Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

Fiji has today been reinstated as a full member of the Commonwealth in recognition of its restoration of democracy.

It was partially suspended in 2006 after a military coup and fully suspended in 2009.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group said the decision recognised the credibility of last week's general election and the assumption of office by a democratically elected government.

The Fiji First party leader, Frank Bainimarama, who led the coup eight years ago, won last week's general election.

Commonwealth secretary-general Kamalesh Sharma said he was impressed by the new 50-member parliament.

"We know that eight women have been appointed to the cabinet. There's a first female speaker in the parliament, I understand it's the first for south Pacific, so I think that's a great start for democratic constitutionalism in Fiji."

Fijian foreign minister Inoke Kubuabola has expressed his gratitude that Fiji has been allowed back into the Commonwealth.

He said the Fijian government would now consider how to implement the lifting of the suspension.

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