Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fiji On Edge of Banishment From Commonwealth

By Rich Bowden

Img: Fiji's Parliament House, Suva. Credit: jaredw_1986

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully has declared the Commonwealth's decision to give Fiji a month to commit to holding elections next year or risk banishment as a Commonwealth member as a "clear ultimatum" to the military government. However Fiji has said it would not comment on the suspension threat until officially advised by the Commonwealth.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully told reporters following the decision that Fiji was now clearly under notice to bring forward stated elections.

"Fiji needs to decide whether it wants to engage with the international community [or] whether it wants to stay in the Commonwealth," he said.

"If they intend to do so they need to hold elections next year. Fiji has [currently] said it will [not] hold elections [until] 2014."

McCully said he remained optimistic that the military government - which seized power in a coup in 2006 - would accede to Commonwealth wishes and hold election within twelve months.

“The economic situ
ation in Fiji has been deteriorating. There's got to be a point where the regime decides it's time to re-engage with the international community and accept some help,” Mr McCully said to the New Zealand Press Association.

“I hope this is the time but I'm not holding my breath.”

Img below: Fiji flag.
However Fiji's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, was quoted by the Fiji Village website as saying his interim military government has received no official word on the threat and will reserve comment until discussions on the subject are held on the matter with the Commonwealth.

Recently the country has been seen the resignation of the respected figurehead President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and his replacement by the serving vice-president Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, weakening further the military government's legitimacy. However real power in the military dictatorship lies with the enigmatic Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the defence forces commander and now interim prime minister who led the December 2006 coup.

His government has already reneged on a promise to hold elections earlier this year and lost any vestige of legitimacy when the Commodore annulled the country's constitution in May after the Fiji Court of Appeal had ruled his government illegal.

Since the 2006 takeover Bainimarama has ruled as a virtual dictator and refused repeated international requests to restore democracy on the islands. The country will not be present at next week's annual Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns, Australia due to a decision by the members to suspend the country from the talks - the first time this has occurred in the Forum's 38-year history.

View Suva in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. sorry bro u will have to get educated on the nuances between middle passage and middle path in relation to neo-colonistic policies.


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