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Fiji PM makes plans for ‘nationwide consultation’

By Rachna Lal

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Jan. 2, 2012)—The Public Emergency Regulations (PER) will be lifted from this Saturday, the Prime Minister announced last night.

In a major, positive and forward-looking New Year address broadcast on TV and radio, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed:

Commodore Bainimarama stressed the progress in eliminating past mismanagement, corruption and institutionalised discrimination. He emphasised the continuing work modernising the nation and building a better Fiji for all Fijians.

(A full transcript of the Prime Minister’s address – in English, Fijian, and Hindi - is published today on Pages 2 and 3.)

The Public Emergency Regulations have been in place since April 2009, when the former constitution was abrogated. They allowed restrictions on some public gatherings and speech, censorship of news media reports and gave security forces added powers.

Commodore Bainimarama stressed: "We must all remember that public order, protecting the vulnerable and safeguarding the economy will always be paramount.

"We must also as a nation be intolerant of those that seek refuge and political power in religious, ethnic and communal divisions."

The Prime Minister praised the progress made through public support. He reminded people that there are certain features of the new constitution that will be non-negotiable.

He said: "The constitution must establish a government that is founded on an electoral system that guarantees equal suffrage – a truly democratic system based on the principle of one person, one vote, one value.

"We will not have a system that will classify Fijians based on ethnicity; and, our young men and women, those 18 years old must have the right to vote."

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