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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, March 30) - Race is a fact in the general election in Fiji, says the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party.

It was a reality in Fiji that had to be addressed because voting was done along racial lines, said the party's campaign director Jale Baba.

He made the comment yesterday at the start of a three-day workshop on the election for the party's candidates. Baba said the Fiji Labor Party started the election campaign along racial lines when its leader Mahendra Chaudhry said Fijian institutions should be democratized. "Labor started it and in fact I do agree with some statements that has been made and branded as racist," Baba said.

He reiterated that Fiji was not ready for a non-Fijian prime minister because Fijian issues could only be properly addressed by a Fijian Prime Minister. A National Alliance Party candidate had earlier made a similar remark.

During the workshop, Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua election candidates will be given a code of conduct to abide by, he said.

Baba said the code of conduct belonged to the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party and candidates were expected to adhere to the principles in the code during and after the general election.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR news files, the Pacific Center for Public Integrity filed a complaint on March 22 with Fiji police. Center director obtained video footage from Fiji Television in which Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase is allegedly quoted to have said only a Fijian Prime Minister could understand the concerns of the Fijian people. (for full report see March 24 story in PIR Previous Reports)]

March 31, 2006

Fiji Times Online: .

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