Political leaders given two options
Fiji’s political leaders were today asked to accept changes through dialogue or else risk delay in the holding of parliamentary elections.
Speaking to representatives of Fiji’s political parties, interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainmarama, said he prefers the option “to move forward through dialogue, confidence building and by developing a broad-based consensus for the change agenda”. This, he said, is with a view to ensuring that democratically-elected Governments will undertake the implementation of these agreed changes. He appealed to the political leaders and leaders at all levels (in the Vanua, the church and other religious organisations, communities; and the civil society) to recognise the need for change.
Bainimarama submitted to the political delegates to achieve the vision of the Peoples Charter for a more stable and prosperous, united, non-racial Fiji. On the other hand, he said in the absence of support for the “change agenda” from the political parties, elections under a truly democratic electoral system will be delayed.
“As you reflect further upon the position of your respective political party, please also take into account the Peoples Charter,” said Bainimarama. “For us to proceed on the path of the first option, it is imperative that in the President’s Political Dialogue Forum, we reach broad consensus on changes to the electoral system and, for these to be introduced through legal and constitutional means.”
He added that the President’s Forum must get underway with due urgency and speed. “I suggest that electoral reform be placed as the highest priority item on the agenda of the Forum, especially as this will have a direct bearing on the determination of the timeline for the election.
“It is not for the interim Government to unilaterally determine the election timeline. “I encourage this first meeting of the leaders of Political Parties today, to urge the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations to respond to Fiji’s request to get the PPDF underway soonest, and for them to jointly facilitate it.”
The meeting at the Parliament complex is expected to conclude later today.