By Ryan L. Maness
Impunity Watch Senior Desk Officer, Oceania
SUVA, Fiji – Fiji’s Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, said that Fiji must sort out its governmental problems before holding elections. He says that reforms must be put in place if Fiji is to avoid another political coup in the future.
According to Chaudhry, Fiji’s problems are ones of fundamental governance and that the people of Fiji must admit that these problems exist before progress can commence. The solutions to these problems, he said, must precede a return to democratic rule.
“We’ve had it for so long, we need to solve those problems,” he said. “Otherwise we will always have a turbulent democracy here, we’ve had four coups and we don’t want that again.”
While he admitted that the overall return to democracy will take time, he said that a timeline should be put in place for the return. “It does not really matter, so long as progress is being made and there is a timeline – reasonable and fair to those demanding elections immediately and those who are saying ‘Let’s wait and solve problems out and have elections’.”
Chaudhry was the prime minister of Fiji before being ousted by a coup in 2000.
For more information, please see:
Fiji Times – ‘Solutions before polls’ – 23 February 2009
Radio New Zealand International – Fiji’s Labour Party leader says governance still needs to be sorted out before any elections – 22 February 2009