#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: SDL, FLP want electoral reforms

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SDL, FLP want electoral reforms

The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) and its Multi-Party Cabinet partner in the deposed government, the Fiji Labour Party, want electoral reforms by October.

It's one of the recommendations of the joint submission to the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Conference in Cairns, Australia. It was signed by once bitter political enemies, Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry. The full submission has been posted in 7 parts on Raw Fiji News.

Essentially both parties:

a) Do not accept the three-year delay in commencement of political dialogue starting with work to formulate a new Constitution in September 2012. Chaudhry had called for electoral reforms before elections during his tenure as interim Finance and Sugar Minister for 18 months until August last year.
b) Regard the dictatorship regime as the sole arbiter of what is good for Fiji, saying it even violates the Peoples Charter that Chaudhry and the FLP were an integral part of.
c) Do not agree with curtailment of fundamental freedoms like censorship of the media. Chaudhry had called for media regulations during his honeymoon with military dictator Frank Bainimarama.
d) Lament the lack of complete transparency and accountability involving millions of dollars of taxpayers' money. Chaudhry had brushed aside criticism of the military's $45.5 million budget blowout for 2007 and $184,000 leave payout for Frank Bainimarama saying he had approved both expenditures because they were necessary.
e) Describe the interim regime as being accountable to no-one and immune from questioning. Chaudhry was cleared by the regime after the media revealed his $2 million stash in Australia. At that time he said the regime and he were accountable and transparent.

Both leaders want Public Emergency Regulations and media censorship lifted before the start of any political dialogue saying among other things, such dialogue can include discussion and an exit strategy for the military and a caretaker government to take Fiji to general elections by October 2010.

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