25 Jun 2013

Political parties in Fiji face challenges after years in wilderness

8:29 pm on 25 June 2013

The general secretary of the SODELPA party in Fiji says they hope to have branches set up throughout the country by the end of the year in preparation for next year's elections.

The party is a reincarnation of the prominent SDL Party, which was officially dissolved earlier this year and renamed so it could comply with news rules for political parties.

The SDL party was re-elected in 2006, but six months later ousted from power in the military coup.

The general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu says the party has almost had to start again as it prepares for the campaign phase.

"We've been out of circulation for what nearly seven years now. We have to go back and start setting up our branches throughout the country in preparation for elections but we are doing that straight away. It's just the logistical problem of trying to set up throughout the country and the cost of doing it."

Pio Tabaiwalu says they want an independent body to oversee the election and would like to see the current regime issue definitive statements reassuring the public that they are free to speak their views.