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‘Pre-2006 elections were undemocratic’

 

Apr 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM

A former Australian politician has labeled Fiji’s parliamentary elections before the 2006 coup as being outside the perimeters of democratic ideals.

Peter Lewis, former speaker and member of the South Australian Parliament, made the comments in a public lecture at the Fiji National University in Suva today, adding those elections were more likely to establish disproportionate privileges for ethnic groups.

“Fiji’s recent experiences in regards to law and order itself show that those who exercised such power were ignorant of the consequences,” he said.

He said Fiji’s then constitutional structure provided some people with more than one vote electing representatives to the same Chamber and who were provided with more weight to their vote than others.

Lewis believes it is too simplistic to assume that Fiji’s Parliament and its government at the time of the coup was democratic just because people voted in elections.

“To be democratic in the real sense, the electoral process needs to be based on one vote to each citizen and roughly equally populated electorate’s process regardless of their ethnicity,” he added.

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