Confusion over eligibility of 2009 Fiji election
Fiji’s interim government has announced that the country would go to polls in March 2009 but it is not clear as subsequent statements by the interim Prime Minister regarding who will be eligible to contest the elections.
Interim PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was quoted at the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting in Tonga making statements to the line that ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and his SDL Party would not be allowed to contest the 2009 election.
Leaders at last week’s Forum Summit in Tonga showed overwhelming support for Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama commitment to hold elections in March 2009.
Cmdr Bainimarama is reported as saying “SDL members would not be stopped from contesting the poll but anybody with Qarase-like policies will be”.
This morning Qarase explained to Radio Australia his views on the issue.
“There is a proposal that I meet with the Interim Prime Minister soon in fact I have taken the initiative to follow up on his offer for a meeting and maybe that’s one of the issues we can discuss.
“I really do not know what he means by that because the SDL Party prepared a couple of manifestos one for 2001 and one for 2006 and I cannot see any policies in our last manifesto to suggest that our policies have been racial.
“Our policies on affirmative action have been based on the provisions of our Constitution so it is possible there is a bit of confusion,” said he.
Qarase has questioned what forms of racial policy and what an affirmative action policy would be.
“Certainly, it is something I have to clarify with the Interim Prime Minister,” said Qarase.
Meanwhile, Attorney-General Aiyaz Saiyad-Khaiyum explained the Interim Prime Minister was alluding to the People’s Charter.
“He was saying that the People’s Charter sets a trend or course for which the people of Fiji should actually assess political parties on and political parties that are essentially try to contest elections purely based on ethnic politics would not be entertained by the people of Fiji. It was in that context that he was talking about”.