Fiji leader issues threat to election, blaming foreign `interference’

Michael McKenna From: The Australian July 14, 2010

 FIJIAN dictator Frank Bainimarama has flagged postponing elections for a second time, blaming interference from Australia and New Zealand.
Less than a day after expelling Australia’s acting high commissioner, Sarah Roberts, the military leader said yesterday he was “seriously thinking” of postponing his 2014 election timetable as he dealt with a regional snub over his failure to restore democracy to the Pacific nation.

Commodore Bainimarama seized power in 2006 and cancelled promised 2009 elections, before last year dumping the constitution and judiciary after the Supreme Court ruled that his military government was illegitimate.

Ms Roberts was given until today to leave the capital, Suva, with her family. She had replaced James Batley, who was expelled in November.

Julia Gillard condemned the move.

“We will be making very, very clear to Fiji our protest about this unreasonable and uncalled-for action,” the Prime Minister said in Canberra.

“Obviously, our attitude to this is we are gravely concerned that Fiji continues to take itself beyond and outside the workings of the international community.”

Commodore Bainimarama said he had decided to oust Ms Roberts after the cancellation of the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting in Suva next week.

Speaking on Auckland radio, Commodore Bainimarama said Australia had pressured Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei, the chairman of the group, to cancel the meeting and it had also led him to reconsider the 2014 elections.

“In fact, I am all of a sudden thinking we might not be ready for 2014 for election if we don’t get any assistance from Australia and New Zealand, for instance,” he said. “If we reach 2014 and we are not ready because of constant interfering, we are not going to give up our government to political parties.

“I am seriously thinking about the date of the elections, the interference by these people, but I can tell you nothing is going to stop us from doing what needs to be done continuing on this pathway — we need reforms.”

In an earlier statement, Mr Natapei indicated that the meeting had been deferred because of Commodore Bainimarama’s failure to return the country to democracy.

The diplomatic stoush follows the condemnation of the regime’s crackdown on press freedom in Fiji, with a media decree that includes two-year jail terms for editors and journalists whose work is deemed against “the public interest or order, is against national interest, offends against good taste or decency or creates communal discord”.

It also orders that media outlets must be 90 per cent owned by Fijian citizens who live permanently in the island nation.

The Fiji Times, the oldest (founded in 1869) and largest of the country’s newspapers, is wholly owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian. It has three months to comply with the decree or be closed down.

News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan last night announced the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers to advise the company on its interests in The Fiji Times.



  1. rokobatidua Says:

    OK guys its time to form an Armed liberation organization to Free Fiji from the tentacles of these Ass-holes. Lets do it and may the true hero step forward and put a silver lead right through Bai’s blockhead.

  2. Annon. Says:

    @ robobatidua.

    So what happens then? Engulf Viti (via military) in chaos?
    Noble as intentions may be – untill you have in place subsequent plans
    B & C suggest leave such matters to those who do.

  3. rokobatidua Says:

    Time to stop Mr. Chaos from destroying our beautiful country? Lets battle it out and lets re-create,reinvent and re-established our democratic commonwealth!!!!!!!!!!!!

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