Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You can’t exclude us, SDL tells PM

You can’t exclude us, SDL tells PM
27 MAY 2008

Fiji’s former ruling party is adamant that the interim regime can not prevent its comeback at the polls next year.

No one has the authority or the mandate to remove us, said Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua national director Peceli Kinivuwai when reacting to comments by Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama that the party would not be part of the next election.

“If anyone is to stop the SDL from standing and competing in the next election it has to be the party or the voters. We maintain we have 80 per cent support of Fiji’s indigenous population,” he said.

Kinivuwai also said the SDL should not be implicated or reprimanded alone for its decision not to support the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress, proposed by the regime, “because other political parties, organizations and provincial council’s had also rejected it”.

“That’s majority of the people in Fiji opposing it,” he said.

Kinivuwai adds that Bainimarama can not use the school holidays as an excuse to delay the election in 2009.

The first term school holidays usually fall in April-May.

“I don’t think there should be any excuses at this stage for a delay in election. Surely when he said March 2009, he had considered all the related factors,” said Kinivuwai.

He said the election superceded all else including education as it was the framework of Fiji’s future, which included the education curriculum.

“If the calendar can he changed for things such as sporting activities, why can’t it be changed for the election?” he said.

Electoral Commission Stays Out of Debate
www.fijivillage.com - 27/05/2008

The Electoral Commission, which is empowered to make the final decision on who is eligible to stand in the general elections said it will not get involved in the political debate over the SDL being barred from standing in the elections.

Commission Chairman M.R. Khan told Fijivillage that what transpires between the government of the day and political parties is not their concern.

When questioned by Fijivillage news whether the Commission will also review the criteria set for aspiring candidates and political parties in their review of the electoral system in Fiji, Khan said they will look at it when the time comes.

Election Participation Can Be Restricted
www.fijivilllage.com - 27/05/2008

The Fiji Human Rights Commission said there are certain provisions in the 1997 Constitution which can limit the participation of individuals and political parties in a general election.

After statements by the Interim Prime Minister that the SDL party will not be allowed to contest the next elections, Commission Director Dr Shaista Shameem said there are certain criteria which each party and candidate must meet before they can be allowed to contest an elections.

According to Dr Shameem, the CERD Committee has already recommended legislations against race based organizations.

Section 58(2)(c) of the 1997 Constitution states that a person is not qualified to contest an election if the person has an interest in an agreement or contract entered into with the government or a government authority, being an interest prescribed by parliament as an interest that must not be held by a member of the parliament or a presiding officer of parliament.

However, ousted Opposition Leader said 80 percent of Fiji's population will not be allowed to vote freely if the SDL is barred from contesting the next general elections.

Mick Beddoes said this will be an injustice to the indigenous Fijian people.

Fiji Labour Party President Jokapeci Koroi when contacted on the matter said she is also a member of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and will not comment.

After the SDL party AGM resolved that the NCBBF should be immediately dismantled, the Interim Prime Minister stressed that the military and the interim government will ensure the SDL party does not contest the next elections as the SDL is continuing to oppose the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and the People's Charter process.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama said the SDL is unlikely to suit the political sphere of the country as it does not want the charter to take the country forward.

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