2 Jan 2012

Fiji to end emergency rule this weekend

12:58 pm on 2 January 2012

Fiji's interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says the public emergency regulations in force since April 2009 will be lifted.

In his New Year's address, Commodore Bainimarama said the restrictions would end on Saturday.

This marks the third time the regime has said when it would end the emergency regulations, which give police and the military extended powers, censor the media and ban public meetings held without permits.

Commodore Bainimarama has stressed that public order will be maintained.

He also says he will be announcing a nationwide consultation process for a new constitution in February.

Emergency rule was imposed in 2009 after the regime had abrogated the 1997 constitution and sacked the judiciary in response to an appeal court ruling declaring his interim government illegal.

Commodore Bainimarama initially said the emergency would last about a month, but the regime kept extending it while promising to end it once a media decree was in place.

However, after the media decree was applied in June 2010, the regime reneged on its repeated promise to lift the emergency regulations.

Commodore Bainimarama seized power in a military coup in 2006 but says he will hold elections in 2014.