1 Mar 2006

Fiji to hold elections in second week of May

6:57 pm on 1 March 2006

Fiji will hold general elections in the second week of May from the 6th to the 13th.

The early poll has been announced by the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Mr Qarase says based on his advice the acting president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, has approved the dissolution of parliament on the 27th of this month.

He says seven days after the dissolution the writ of elections will be issued and 14 days after that those intending to contest the elections will have to file their nominations.

Elections must take place within a 30-day period after this.

The supervisor of elections, Semesa Karavaki, says his office will be ready for the elections by the end of this month.

He says provisional rolls have been widely distributed throughout Fiji so voters can come forward to make any corrections that may be necessary.

The Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the party and its coalition partners are ready for the elections.

But, Mr Chaudhry says they have serious reservations about the large number of discrepancies in the voter registration process.

Mr Qarase says Australia and New Zealand will be jointly invited to send observers to monitor the elections.

The prime minister says the government is confident electoral officials will conduct the vote in a free and open manner.