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Just two of Fiji’s 16 political parties taking part

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 1, 2008) – Fiji’s President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has approved the convening of a forum for political dialogue that would include changes to the electoral system.

The Acting interim Prime Minister, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today indicated that he has received formal communication from the President confirming approval of the urgent call by the National Council for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) that a forum be convened.

In a special meeting held on April 15, the NCBBF had resolved that a forum needs to be convened outside its formal meetings to include key stakeholders in Fiji, including all the political parties.

They are to "discuss the steps needed to reform Fiji’s electoral system to conform, inter alia, with the principles enunciated with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights", according to a statement from the NCBBF.

Ratu Epeli said that necessary action would now convene with the proposed forum as soon as possible.

The NCBBF had hoped to convene the forum early next month.

A Government statement today said it is anticipated that the forum will be facilitated under a multilateral framework possibly with the involvement of Fiji’s international development partners.

Apart from the Fiji Labour Party and National Alliance Party, leaders of the other major parties have declined the President’s invitation to be part of the NCBBF.

[PIR editor’s note: According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, there currently are 16 political parties in Fiji.]

The NCBBF members have agreed that any electoral reform, ahead of the March 2009 election, will need the support of the political parties.


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