FLP says new rules move Fiji towards 'one party state' | Pacific Beat

FLP says new rules move Fiji towards 'one party state'

FLP says new rules move Fiji towards 'one party state'

Updated 17 January 2013, 10:51 AEDT

Fiji's Labour Party has condemned new regulations on political parties as an attempt to move the country towards perhaps becoming a one party state.

The coup-installed military government has decreed that parties have to show they have 5,000 members within 28 days or they will be deregistered.

In addition, all party names must be in the English language, and they will not be allowed to accept donations from foreign governments, companies, inter-government or non-governmental organisations.

FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry says Fiji parties have historically never had such a high number of members, and his party will struggle to get the required members within the 28-day deadline.

He says smaller parties will have almost no chance.

Mr Chaudhry says the regulations are designed to stifle all opposition to the interim government ahead of the elections in 2014.

The permenant secretary for information, Sharon Smith-Johns said Mr Chaudhry's accusation about Fiji becoming a one party state was ridiculous and deserves no response.

She asked how Fiji could be a one party state when no party has registered yet.

Meanwhile, Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr has described the regulations as onerous and says Australia has serious concerns about them.

He says this restriction on the nature of political parties cannot be justified, as vibrant political parties are a vital part of a democracy.

Senator Carr said he met last week with Fiji's Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, to discuss Fiji's return to democracy and made it clear that Australia's sanctions would remain in place until conditions had been met for a genuine democratic transition.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry


Bruce Hill

Bruce Hill


Bruce is one of the Pacific’s most experienced journalists with nearly 20 years covering the region and has won several international awards.

Contact the studio

Got something to say about what you're hearing on the radio right now?

Send your texts to +61 427 72 72 72

Add the hashtag #raonair to add your tweets to the conversation.

Email us your thoughts on an issue. Messages may be used on air.