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Reconciliation Needed - New Fijian Govt Formation

6 September

Reconciliation Needed In Formation Of New Fijian Government

With election results showing a strongly polarised electorate, those involved in forming a new government in Fiji should take into account the need for reconciliation and unity if Fiji is to move forward, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

"As anticipated, voting in the election was strongly along ethnic lines. The clear winners are the Fiji Labour party with all the Indian seats and Mr Qarase's Unity Party with most of the ethnic Fijian vote. Centre parties have been all but wiped out.

"Given this result, both major parties need to give careful thought about how to bring Fijian society together so that Fiji can achieve peace, stability and prosperity for its people.

"It is entirely up to the Fijian parties as to how this might be achieved but it would be a matter of regret if those with more extremist views were to gain disproportionate influence through holding the balance of power.

"Most New Zealanders would regard the inclusion of George Speight in parliament or government as unpalatable.

"Mr Speight was responsible for the violent overthrow of Fiji's democratic government and people died as a result of his actions. You cannot only follow the rules of democracy when it suits you.

"The New Zealand government's view remains firmly that Mr Speight should be held to account for his actions and that justice should take its course.

"Pardoning Mr Speight would send the wrong message to the world. It would also tell future dissident individuals in Fiji that it is acceptable to remove a democratic government using violence.

"Fiji as a whole would benefit if Mr Chaudhry and Mr Qarase were able to put aside their differences to find a solution which produced a united, stable and forward-looking Fiji", Mr Goff said.

Ends

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