BAINIMARAMA REAFFIRMS PLANS FOR 2009 FIJI ELECTIONS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 6) - Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says the March, 2009 General Election will go ahead despite critics doubting his government’s commitment.

His comments came after ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase yesterday told a public forum that he doubts the interim regime has the commitment and political will to hold elections next year.

The man who supervised the last two elections, Semesa Karavaki also believes the interim government is not only late in its preparation but also deliberately delaying the process.

He adds the proposed People’s Charter is a "smoke screen" used by the interim government to "extend their term for another 5 years in office."

But, Bainimarama is adamant that he will keep his promise to the nation and the Pacific Island Leaders Forum in Tonga last year.

"Yes we will have 2009 general elections," he told fijilive.com.

Meanwhile, Qarase said there are three key processes that need to be completed before the general election. These include the review of the Constituency Boundaries based on the 2007 population census, the registration of voters and compilation of the electoral rolls based on the reviewed constituency boundaries and the conduct of a suitable and relevant education program for voters.

"These activities need to start now or in the next few months if the March, 2009 timeline is to be met," said Qarase.

The interim regime has appointed the electoral commission and the Constituency Boundaries Commission and is expected to appoint a Supervisor of Elections later next month.

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