26 Nov 2008

Fiji elections unlikely next March

5:41 pm on 26 November 2008

Fiji's election office says it's unlikely that elections will be held by March.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders decided at their summit this year that Fiji must stick to a timetable of having elections in March next year.

The 2009 budget was announced on Friday by prime minister and finance minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama who seized power in a military coup in December 2006. It contains no mention of elections next year.

The elections office says it's received only a fifth of the funding it asked for.

There are currently discussions about whether Fiji should change its electoral system and the election office says the outcome will determine when elections will be held.

Commodore Bainimarama promised in 2007 to hold elections by March 2009, but has since said a poll will go ahead only when voting changes are put in place.

A spokesman for Fiji's Ministry of Finance said while the budget did not allocate funds directly for holding an election, $F5 million has been earmarked for electronic equipment to allow voter registration.