22 Feb 2007

US calls for immediate democracy and return of Qarase govt

4:29 am on 22 February 2007

The United States State Department has called for the immediate restoration of democracy in Fiji.

And it has also called for the return of the democratically elected Qarase government deposed in the December 5th military takeover.

The deputy US State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, made the call in response to the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama's announcement that his administration had drawn up a timeline for elections to be held in 2010.

Mr Casey said the United States does not support the idea of elections in 2010.

He said the US wants a return to democratic rule "not a year from now or two years from now, but now."

And with New Zealand and Australia also calling for a short timeline, a senior Fiji academic, Dr Steven Ratuva, says Fiji should not be pressured into holding general elections too soon.

Dr Ratuva has told Fiji TV three years is fairly reasonable to get preparations under way which would need a census, drawing up new electoral boundaries and voter registration and education.