Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Movement calls for Commonwealth help

By ASHWINI PRASAD
Wednesday, March 04, 2009

THE Movement for Democracy in Fiji is asking the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to support the decisions made by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in Papua New Guinea.

The request is made by the MDF in light of the public insistence by interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama that the restoration of parliamentary democracy might take another 10 or 50 years.

The Commonwealth meeting is on March 4 in London.

MDF chairperson, Attar Singh stated that "Commodore Bainimarama's comments were made following the PNG meeting of Pacific Forum Leaders and after Fiji has endured more than two years of military rule through an unelected administration".

"This is in direct contradiction to the ideals contained in the Millbrook Plan of Action that Commonwealth countries have endorsed. It is further worrying that the unelected military administration in Fiji is talking about electoral reforms and acceptance of the People's Charter as pre-conditions for the restoration of parliamentary democracy through the proposed presidential dialogue forum process," Mr Singh added.

Mr Singh is appealing to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.

"To insist that any proposed dialogue for the restoration of parliamentary democracy in Fiji should be a process which is credible, without ultimatums or pre-conditions and in accordance with the 1997 Constitution of Fiji, anything short of that would be detrimental to the long-term interests of security and stability in the country."

The decisions by the Pacific Forum leaders are supportive of the interests of the silent majority of the people of Fiji, Mr Singh added.
CCF advises Commonwealth against Fiji's suspension
Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Update: 2:36PM THE Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) has urged the Commonwealth not to suspend Fiji from its fold because it believes isolation could prove counter-productive.

And, the Commonwealth's continued assistance could help legitimise the electoral reforms proposed by the interim regime and the Peoples Charter, adds CCFs chief executive Reverend Akuila Yabaki.

"We believe that the Commonwealth can play a positive role in assisting Fiji to achieve a better democracy," he said in a statement today.

"Fiji needs to be rid of the current racially-biased electoral system.

"The Commonwealth's support for electoral reform in Fiji could provide impetus for its achievement in a legitimate manner.

"CCF strongly believes that the Commonwealth can play a key role in bringing urgency to the commencement of the Presidents Political Dialogue Forum (PPDF) process through encouragement, advice and expertise."

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meets today to review Fijis situation and decide on its membership.

"(Fijis suspensions in the past) led to a stronger forging of relationships between Fiji and countries with less admirable human rights standards," Mr Yabaki added.

"Threats and isolation from the international community will not provide an answer to Fiji's problems."

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