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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 30) – Fiji Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama today threatened to round-up caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Soqosoqo Duavata Lewenivanua party director Jale Baba if they continued to incite fear amongst the voters ahead of polling.

Bainimarama, who had just returned from overseas, said Qarase and Baba were telling voters in their pocket meetings that there would be instability if a non-indigenous individual were to become Prime Minister.

"Such an act has been sighted by the military as threatening voters to choose the Soqosoqo Duavata Lewenivanua party during voting next week, which is not democratic," he said.

"People have the right to vote for whichever party or individual they want to, and no one should intimidate them into doing otherwise. We'll take care of any such threats and the people should not fear," said the army commander.

Bainimarama said what people should rather fear is failed promises, lying and radical/ racial policies if the Soqosoqo Duavata Lewenivanua were to return to power.

"If politicians do not have any meaningful issues to talk about then they should not stand for the election," he said.

A comment from Qarase is expected soon.

Fiji caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase says he stands by the comments he made in public recently that there was no guarantee the country would not face instability if the Fiji Labor Party were to return to power.

Reacting to today's threat made by Army Commander Voreqe Bainimarama, Qarase said he never intended to incite fear amongst voters but was merely stating the facts.

"I was trying to explain to the people in Soqosoqo Duavata Lewenivanua's pocket meeting in Waituri, Nausori that whenever the Fiji Labor Party came into power there has been an upheaval. I was merely telling the truth and relating facts to the people," he said.

The Fiji Labor Party said Qarase and the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party were using the fear tactic to win votes.

The race for the single Rotuman seat up for grabs in the 2006 general elections in Fiji is heating up with all five candidates pledging to do more for Rotuma if elected into government.

Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party candidate Sosefo Kafoa said one of his first tasks would be to improve shipping service to the island from a monthly service to fortnightly interval.

He said he also wanted to improve the road conditions as well ensure that there was electricity in every village on the island.

National Alliance candidate Sosefo Inoke said the problem was that it did not have good governance.

He said the National Alliance had a formula for success for the people of Rotuma, which were peace, order and good governance.

The two were speaking at a rally organized by the Rotuman community in Suva.

Also present were Independent candidate Jioji Konrote and United General Party candidate Mua Taukave as well as outgoing Member of Parliament Marieta Rigamoto.

May 1, 2006


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