FIJI ELECTORAL COMMISSION ANNOUNCES NATIONAL ELECTION DATES

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 7, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Fiji Electoral Commission has announced dates for next year's general election.

Radio Australia correspondent Karan Pillay reports from Suva that the national election, the first under the new Constitution, will be held from May 8th to 15th.

"Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has been suggesting recently that May would be a good time to go to the polls, and now the Electoral Commission has confirmed the May general election.

"This will be a different election for Fiji. This is the first time that voting has been made compulsory under the new alternative system of voting.

"The new Constitution, which came into effect in July, also allows for the formation of a multi-party Cabinet where Parties with more than a ten percent representation in the 71 seat lower house will be invited to form the next government.

"The current Fiji Parliament will be dissolved on March 21st to make way for the elections two months later.

"Karan Pillay, Suva."

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