14 Aug 2014

Reith to lead Australia's monitors of Fiji polls

1:10 pm on 14 August 2014

Australia says a former Liberal cabinet minister, Peter Reith, will lead its contingent to Fiji to monitor next month's election.

The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, says Mr Reith is an experienced former minister with a strong interest in global democracy.

Fiji has agreed to a 14-member multi-national observer group, which will be led by Australia, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The group includes observers from among others New Zealand, Turkey and Iran.

The European Union, which provided by the far the largest group of observers at the last election, won't be represented.

So far absent from the list are also the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum, which both had observers in 2006.

Fiji has been suspended from both organisations because the regime reneged on a 2007 promise to return the country to democracy.

Forum leaders have said Fiji will be re-admitted if the election is free and fair, although Fiji has suggested it won't rejoin unless Australia and New Zealand quit the organisation.

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Photo: RNZI / Sally Round