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International Community Duped By Qarase

Elections To Be Deferred; International Community Duped By Qarase
Issue No: 224; 25 November 2000

Interim regime Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase states that the elections, which he proposed, were to be held in 18 months would now be delayed.

According to a report published in today's Fiji Times (25 November) Qarase informed villagers in Nabudrau in Noco Rewa that if the Constitution Review Commission takes longer than expected, then elections would have to be deferred.

There are clear indications that Qarase will not stick by the deadline which he gave the international community for his proposed elections, which he claimed, would be held in March 2002. He had further informed the international community that he would get the report of his Constitution Committee by March 2001.

In October, after Qarase met his Constitution Committee Chairman, Asesela Ravuvu, Ravuvu was quoted by the media as saying: "We were in agreement that the March deadline was quite prohibitive". (see issue no 119 or http://www.pcgov.org.fj/hot_press/no119.htm)

It has also now been revealed that many of the contracts for the members and of the Constitution Committee have been for at least 1 year. This obviously takes the deadline for the Constitution Committee to next October rather than March.

It is believed that the regime has done this deliberately and under legal opinion that once the international community accepts the Qarase plan, it can continue to hold office longer under the guise of effective control. The longer the regime administers the country, the easier it is for it to prove that it has effective control and thus claim legitimacy.

It is clear that Qarase had intended to mislead the international community. The People's Coalition has always held that Qarase is totally insincere and has no intention of getting democracy back in Fiji.

END 25 November 2000


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