1 Sep 2009

Fiji facing more isolation with Commonwealth decision imminent

2:00 pm on 1 September 2009

A leading academic on Fiji says the interim regime is unlikely to have done enough to prevent its suspension from the Commonwealth.

Today is the deadline the Commonwealth ministerial action group - or CMAG - gave Fiji's military rulers to commit to holding elections by October next year or face full suspension.

The interim government has invited Commonwealth representatives to come to Fiji, and the former New Zealand Governor General Sir Paul Reeves could visit the country next week.

But the interim government says nothing will sway it from its roadmap towards holding elections in 2014.

Jonathan Fraenkel, an academic based at the Australian National University, says while the regime has appeared nonchalant about ultimatums from international bodies in the past, it has made some conciliatory gestures recently.

But he says that's unlikely to be enough for the Commonwealth

"As the suspension has come near, on several occasions the regime has seemed to take some steps to try and end its isolation, and said it is open to negotiation but there haven't been any major concessions at that point. So it looks as though Fiji's going further down that road towards isolation."

Jonathan Fraenkel, from the Australian National University.