19 May 2006

EU election observers to stay in Fiji to monitor government formation

3:46 pm on 19 May 2006

European Union election observers in Fiji will closely monitor the formation of the new multi-party government.

The head of the 40-strong observers and former Hungarian deputy foreign minister, Istvan Szent-Ivanyi, has told Radio Legend that the core of his team will remain in Fiji until the middle of June.

He says that it is important for Fiji that a government is formed in accordance with the requirements of the constitution.

Mr Szent-Ivanyi says they are not interested only in the voting and vote counting procedures but the whole election process up to the formation of the government because it could be very important for democracy.

He says they are focusing now on how the government will be formed, how the constitution will be followed, and how co-operation between the political parties will be shaped by the two main leaders.

In another development, it's been confirmed that the controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill will be one of the first pieces of legislation to go before the new parliament when it has its first meeting.

The chair of the Reconciliation Commission, Dr Akanisi Kendrayate, says apart from freeing coup convicts, there are other aspects of the bill which are important to the work of the commission.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase says if the Fiji Labour Party joins his multi-party cabinet, he will expect it to support this and other controversial bills.

Until now Labour has been strongly opposed to the proposed laws.