25 Apr 2007

Former Fiji PM keen to contest next general election

9:57 am on 25 April 2007

Fiji's deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says it is his top priority to stand in the next general elections if it is held within the next 24 months.

Mr Qarase has told the Fiji Times from his home island that he would decide on which seat to contest later.

In the last two elections Mr Qarase contested a safe seat from Lau.

He says he will have to follow the SDL party's procedure of applying for a seat and then contest it.

On a statement by the military that they do not want ousted politicians to stand in the next election, Mr Qarase says the eligibility of a person is clearly stated in the constitution and he believes he is qualified to stand.

He says he is looking forward to returning to Viti Levu if the emergency decree is lifted next month.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says public emergency regulations will only be lifted subject to a review of any threat to national security, public order and safety.