Leaders to discuss Fijian election

Jan. 25, 2009 at 5:29 PM

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Fiji could become the first country suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum because the nation's military leader is refusing to hold promised elections.

The bloc's leaders will meet in Papua New Guinea Tuesday to decide what to do about Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's perceived foot-dragging, the Dominion Post reported Sunday.

The Port Moresby summit was arranged at last year's forum, where leaders criticized Bainimarama, who also serves as Fiji's interim prime minister, after he reneged on a promise to schedule elections for March.

Bainimarama, who says elections cannot be held without first overhauling Fiji's Constitution, is not attending the one-day meeting, the newspaper reported.

The Papua New Guinea meeting will focus on a report from six foreign ministers, including New Zealand's Murray McCully, who visited Fiji in December to monitor progress there.

"We believe that Fiji has got to start demonstrating quite publicly and with a sense of legitimacy that they intend to restore the country towards democracy," New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said. "We haven't seen that, we don't accept the argument that it's not possible to achieve that in 2009."

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