Friday, June 04, 2010

Fiji Hints at Election Stall

by Michael Field  - 4 June 2010

Fiji coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama has hinted at another delay in the country's return to democracy.
In an interview with a pro-regime newspaper he claims people are asking him to cancel planned 2014 elections.
Bainimarama, who is head of the Fiji Military Forces, seized power in a coup in 2006. He later promised to hold elections in 2009 but reneged on that.
He has since abrogated the constitution and imposed rule by military decree.
Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun that he had recently been touring Fiji's provinces and was hearing demands from people that the 2014 elections be delayed.
"The people want the general election to be deferred further because they are in favour of my government," he said.
 "I've visited almost all of the 14 provinces in Fiji. The feedback I've received from the people has been very positive.
 "They have told me not to hold any general election in 2014 because they are happy with what my government has been doing."
Bainimarama said major development work been carried out in rural areas and in the outer islands and the people were happy.
Earlier this week Bainimarama cancelled a planned visit to Fiji by Pacific Foreign Ministers including New Zealand's Murray McCully.
Bainimarama said foreign leaders and former Fiji residents who were against his government should visit the people on the ground and hear their views.
 "They should do this instead of condemning me. Everything has been running smoothly," Bainimarama said.
"If other countries think that the situation in Fiji has worsened financially then they should be reminded that not a country in the world has been spared by the global financial crisis."
Under Bainimarama's self-declared emergency rule, the Fiji media is heavily censored and is not allowed to publish material critical of the regime.
Bainimarama's comments cannot be verified.
The Fiji Sun, one of the three Fiji dailies, has strongly endorsed military rule.

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