1 Apr 2004

More criticism of Fiji PM speech in NZ

3:48 pm on 1 April 2004

There has been more criticism of comments by the Fiji prime minister who said his country is not a liberal democracy and may never be.

Laisenia Qarase told an audience in New Zealand that Fiji's ethnic-based voting may not be consistent with the precepts of western liberal democracy but fits in with a Fijian idea of communal democracy.

And he said that the election results in 1987 and 1999 demonstrated that the Fijians could still lose power.

But the executive director of the Citizen Constitutional Forum, the Reverend Aquila Yabaki, says Fiji must become a democratic country where laws are observed.

"I think that's an unfortunate statement. Fiji is a democracy and has to learn to be. I mean there are many forms of democracy throughout the world and countries are seeking to democratic, such as Fiji. I think the coups of 1987 and 2000 must not be repeated if Fiji's to become a grown up country in the modern world."