THE severity of the new political parties decree disclosed to the media this week is a sign of the government's fear, claims Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
He claims the time limit set to satisfy various requirements for the re-registration of current political parties was designed to prevent them from re-registering.
He was reacting to the new Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Decree 2013, which was announced by the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on Tuesday.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had said all political parties must register and failure to do so would be an offence under the new decree.
"Regardless of these draconian impositions, the Fiji Labour Party will continue to play its part and serve its constituents as it has done since its founding in 1985," he said.
Mr Chaudhry said the most punitive requirement of all was the stipulation that existing parties must re-register — within 28 days from January 18 — or face being rendered illegal.
"The requirement to obtain 5000 signatures from the people in all parts of Fiji within a short period and to pay $5500 as registration fee is to make it difficult for existing parties to re-register," he claims.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the 5000 members was a reflection of the overall population composition and also symbolic for one per cent of the total number of registered voters.
"We have observed other countries that even go to the extent of requiring political parties to have an office in all the constituencies," the A-G said.
The key sources of the decree were from the existing laws, Kenyan Model, New South Wales model and the Canadian model.