25 Apr 2007

Further pressure on Fiji to hold elections within 2 years

5:17 pm on 25 April 2007

There is further pressure coming on Fiji's interim regime to hold general elections within the next two years.

The European Union says it struck an agreement that elections would be held by March 2009 but the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has appeared to back away from this commitment.

He says that will depend on an independent assessment as to whether the country will be ready by then.

The assessment will be undertaken by an electoral expert appointed by the Forum/Fiji Working Group.

New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji, Michael Green, who's a member of the working group, says that appointment is expected later this week.

"The Fiji timetable is predicated on a series of things happening sequentially, starting with a census and then the boundary demarcations and then preparing election campaigns and so on. The Forum Ministers view is that a lot of these things can be done concurrently or in parallel and in that way, you can shorten the process quite substantially."

Michael Green.