18 Jun 2008

New Zealand Foreign Minister says Fiji leader must honour commitment to elections in early 2009

7:11 pm on 18 June 2008

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, says the Fiji interim leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, must honour his promise to held elections in accordance with Fiji's current constitution and laws, by March next year.

Earlier Commodore Bainimarama has told a high level delegation of visiting European Union leaders that the election might be delayed in order to first put in place changes to the electoral system.

Mr Peters says the Commodore appears to be willing to turn his back on commitments he made to Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in Tonga last year.

Mr Peters says it is impossible to see how the interim Government can implement significant electoral or constitutional changes, given such changes must be adopted by a legitimate parliament.

He says the interim government's role should be to prepare the ground for a return to legitimate rule as soon as possible.

Mr Peters says the New Zealand Government recognises an election will not provide a solution for all of Fiji's problems, and there needs to be further free and open political dialogue.

He says all political parties in Fiji need to take part in that dialogue, without

the preconditions and pre-cooked solutions being pushed by the current