18 Jun 2008

Fiji interim leader restates conditions for March poll to go ahead

3:04 pm on 18 June 2008

Fiji's interim prime minister has told a European Union delegation that next year's election could be delayed by his plans to change his country's electoral system.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who overthrew the government in a coup in 2006, has issued a statement saying that while he is committed to holding elections in the first quarter of next year, there could be delays.

He says a political forum, to decide how the electoral system should be changed, has to be held before the poll.

He says commitments can only be realised if there is constructive dialogue and engagement from groups within Fiji, the international community and development partners.

Last year, Commodore Bainimarama told Pacific leaders in Tonga that he would hold free elections in the first quarter of 2009 under the rules in Fiji's constitution.