UN to help Fiji hold parliamentary elections

24 December 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has agreed to work with the Commonwealth to help Fiji's interim Government and other major political forces in the Pacific archipelago hammer out the terms and date of parliamentary elections needed to restore democracy there.

Mr. Ban made his decision after the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) led an exploratory mission to Fiji in late November and found among its key political actors “a widely-shared willingness to engage as soon as possible” in a political dialogue brokered by the UN and the Commonwealth, a statement issued by his spokesperson, Michele Montas, said.

The UN plans to move quickly to install the necessary mechanisms for a dialogue that is “independent, inclusive, time-bound and without prejudice as to its outcome,” according to the statement.

The island chain has suffered prolonged internal tensions between its indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities, and had four coups since 1987.

In September, the country's Prime Minister, Josaia Bainimarama, told the General Assembly's high-level annual debate that the country would not be able to hold parliamentary elections by next March, as previously scheduled, because it first must reform its electoral system.

Commodore Bainimarama, Commander of the Fiji's military forces, came to power in a coup in December 2006, sparking criticism from the UN at the time.

 

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Ban dispatches UN team to Fiji to help resolve internal political tensions

A United Nations team is currently in Fiji as part of efforts by the world body to help the interim Government and other major political forces in the Pacific archipelago resolve their ongoing problems.