3 Mar 2006

Election concerns of Fiji military go to acting president

9:19 am on 3 March 2006

Fiji's military has expressed serious concern whether the May general elections would be free and fair and warned of the possibility of vote rigging.

Fiji TV says the concerns have been raised in a letter to the acting president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, a copy of which it has obtained.

In the letter, the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, says unless a census is conducted, the general elections should not be held.

Otherwise, the people would be deprived of a truly democratically elected government.

On the work of the Elections Office, Commodore Bainimarama says the failure of the electoral rolls will prevent the conduct of free, fair and transparent general elections and could lead to vote rigging.

Commodore Bainimarama has also expressed his concern about what he says is the government's attempts to destabilize the military through administrative action and of trying to incite members of the military to rise against their commander.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says the military stands by all the contents of the letter, which is part of its weekly correspondence with its commander-in-chief.