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Fiji nears Pacific Forum poll deadline


Apr 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM

The Pacific Islands Forum is expecting Fiji to announce an election date by May 1, according to an ultimatum given by leaders at its special meeting in Port Moresby.
Fiji was also given by the end of December 2009 to hold elections or face suspension from the Forum.

The 15 Pacific leaders of the joint working group met in February this year.

Earlier this week however Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said he believed the Forum will not have Fiji suspended from membership of the regional grouping of countries.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has been writing to the PIF and its members, informing them on recent developments in Fiji.

“The Prime Minister’s Office has been busy dealing with this and I don’t think that Fiji will be excluded from the PIF activities,” he told Fijilive.

The President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, after abrogating the Constitution this month, announced that elections would be held before September 2014 after electoral reforms had been carried out.

Forum chairman Toke Talagi said the regional body would stand by its May 1 deadline to suspend Fiji from the group if no election date is announced.

Talagi said regional leaders would back-up their threat to suspend Fiji from the Forum.

"The leaders have variously responded and have agreed that May 1 should be maintained as the deadline," he said.

"They have also indicated that it would be preferable that the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs take place so that we can determine a path forward given the current changed circumstances in Fiji."

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