31 May 2009

Funding for election supervisor in Fiji withdrawn

11:14 am on 31 May 2009

Australia has withdrawn funding for a key position in Fiji's elections office.

The position of supervisor of elections has been made redundant following the cancellation of the Constitution on 10 April.

The Australian Government formally notified Fiji's Public Service Commission on 13 May that it has stopped supporting the salary for the position.

The Australian High Commission in Fiji says the government made the decision after Fiji's President abrogated the 1997 Constitution and revoked all constitutionally appointed positions. This includes the supervisor's role.

The interim Fiji Government says elections will not be held until as late as 2014.

Australia says it remains willing to provide considerable assistance with election preparations in Fiji.

But this is provided the Fiji Government is able to demonstrate a genuine commitment towards free and fair elections at an early date.

The action by the president was taken after the court of appeal ruled on 9 April that the interim government was illegal. Fiji has been controlled by the military since a coup in December 2006.

The coup was the fourth since 1987.