27 Aug 2009

Fiji political rivals call for elections next year

7:35 pm on 27 August 2009

Fiji's main political parties, the SDL and Labour, say the country can no longer delay a return to constitutional rule, and want elections within 14 months.

The parties say there is no justifiable reason for the military regime's five-year delay in the resolution of Fiji's political and governance problems.

They believe the President's Political Dialogue Forum should be convened immediately to discuss and finalise all issues including electoral reform by October this year, with elections in October 2010 at the latest.

The SDL and Labour say this process must be independent, inclusive, time bound and without prejudice to its outcome.

They say this forum should agree to an exit strategy for the military and the installation of a caretaker government whose sole objective would be to take Fiji to a general election next year.

The parties say the forum should be assisted by the United Nations and the Commonwealth Secretariat to guarantee political neutrality.

They say the lifting of the public emergency regulations, which place severe restrictions on the media and assembly, would be a pre-requisite to the start of any dialogue.