#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Chaudhry calls for return to democracy

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chaudhry calls for return to democracy

by Michael McKenna -The Australian

Former Fiji prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry yesterday called on military leader Frank Bainimarama to return the South Pacific nation to democracy as the population increasingly suffers rising food prices and worsening social tensions in the face of international isolation.

With Fiji almost guaranteed to be suspended this week from the Pacific Islands Forum, Mr Chaudhry defied a press and political crackdown on dissent to blast Commodore Bainimarama's "autocratic and dictatorial" leadership after taking power
in a bloodless coup in December 2006.

A finance minister in Commodore Bainimarama's interim government until August last year, Mr Chaudhry said his former political ally's refusal to hold elections until 2014 was hurting the population, with the instability driving down the economy and contributing to racial tensions.

Commodore Bainimarama's anti-elections stance seems certain to confirm Fiji's suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum. In January, member nations ordered Fiji to set the date for democratic elections by May 1. That deadline edges ever closer and Fiji looks even less likely to meet it now than it did in January.

Mr Chaudhry's Fiji Labour Party is seeking talks with Commodore Bainimarama to resume negotiations for democratic elections to be held as soon as possible.

"We have severe problems over here with the economy, and the dollar has been devalued by 20 per cent," he told The Australian. "Fiji is a nation that imports a lot of food and people are finding it increasingly difficult to put food on the table. Ordinary people are feeling it, and, of course, there are social tensions.

"But we can't address these issues without restoring political stability, it is now imperative to find a solution."

Mr Chaudhry and two fellow Labour Party ministers quit the interim Government last year after Commodore Bainimarama went back on a promise to hold elections in Fiji by March, saying he needed more time to reform the nation's political system and root out corruption.

This month, Commodore Bainimarama went further by repealing the Constitution, before the judiciary was sacked and emergency regulations put in place to control free speech.

Regime censors have been sent into newsrooms to prevent sensitive political stories being published or broadcast.

Mr Chaudhry, a former prime minister who was ousted in the previous 2000 nationalist coup, said he had initially supported Commodore Bainimarama in his push to eradicate race politics in the country.

Commodore Bainimarama had accused that government of corruption and implementing racist policies to the detriment of Fiji's minority ethnic Indian community, which is the Labour Party's key constituency and support base. But Mr Chaudhry said the dumping of the Constitution and the regime's latest crackdown on the judiciary and press were worrying for the future of the country.

"The abrogation of the Constitution was tragic and unfortunate," he said. "We need to get talks, that include (2006 ousted prime minister) Laisenia Qarase, back on track to map out a way back to democracy."


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that Chaudhry, Qarase, Bainimarama and the other so-called "leaders" of Fiji, are nothing more than children on a schoolyard arguing over who's ball it is and what rules are they going to follow. The only difference....this is a country and it's people suffer the consequences while these "leaders" spat back and forth with their personal agendas.

If any, yes ANY of these men truly loved Fiji, they would quit all their bickering, backstabbing and coups and try to work together to create a better and modern Fiji. Imagine where America would be if their founding fathers had not set aside their differences and worked together to build their country.

This country is not a pawn on your personal chessboard. Stop all the public whining, suing, claims, counterclaims and all the rest. TRY WORKING TOGETHER. You would be amazed at the public support you'd get if you came up with good ideas and plans instead of constantly tearing down the "other" guys. And just imagine if you actually followed through with these plans and improved the country instead of lining your pockets with back pay claims, new offices, etc. It always impresses me when I see these mini-offical convoys in brand new SUV vehicles with the flashing lights negotiating the potholed roads. You can tell where the money is going and where it is not going.

Unknown said...

Bainimarama will try to drive a wedge between the people of Fiji - a classic Dictator's ploy to maintain power. Ultimately, it will prove futile. But for how long will the people of Fiji suffer? It is good to see Chaudhry finally speak out. Hopefully he will now position himself as the leader he is and take the moral and political stand that is required within Fiji to bring Dictator Bainimarama dow.

Anonymous said...

Mahendra Chaudhry should shut his mouth permanently. He is the main culprit who lent his support to Bainimarama in the first place. He forever as the illegal interim Minister for Finance stated that elections will not solve Fiji's problems. For example, he said commitments made to the European Union are not cast in stones after the Tonga Forum meeting in October 2007 where Bainimarama made a commitment to hold elections by March 2009. Chaudhry's puppet, FLP President Jokapeci Koroi, said Bainimarama should not be bullied by the likes of Australia and New Zealand into holding elections. And who can forget that he okayed Bainimarama's $184,000 leave payout and when the news about RFMF busting its 2007 budget by $45 million came out in November last year Chaudhry defended the army saying he had authorised the budget blowout. We are not fools and we have been reading articles by Dr. Wadan Narsey and Kamal Iyer about Chaudhry's treacherous politics. He is a traitor and that is how he will be judged as.

Anonymous said...

A traitor thru and thru. Maleka for him and the likeminded with him i.e. Shameem sisters, Vayeshnoi, JCabbage etc. Selfish, selfish people. They thought they will pull this one off. Very sorry.

Anonymous said...

Between Chaudhry Leweni's promotion and the F.O.'s this story just gets more and more hilarious.

What a movie it would be with Jim Carry as Frank

Danny De Vito as Leweni or the President

Johnny Depp as Ayaz

and og Course Mr Bean as Telly Tubbie