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Confident of free and fair election

Nasik Swami
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NEW ZEALAND Foreign Minister Murray McCully has expressed confidence that Fiji's election promised for September will be free and fair, dismissing concerns by parties ousted in the 2006 military coup.

Mr McCully told Radio New Zealand that whatever the results, the New Zealand Government will accept the outcome of the election.

His comments come after some political parties accused New Zealand and Australia of abandoning Fiji parties by pursuing an election at any cost.

SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has extended an invitation to Mr McCully, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the Foreign Ministers of the Pacific region to visit Fiji for the sole purpose of "assessing" for themselves the realities on the ground from the opposition's perspective.

Ro Teimumu said if Mr McCully was so confident that "free and fair elections" would be held, she was interested in learning the basis of his optimism.

"Both the New Zealand and Australian governments, as well as the Pacific community, should have no doubts about the opposition parties desire for free and fair elections to be held," she said.

"If minister McCully believes it is important to New Zealand that the people of Fiji get the opportunity to elect their own government, then surely as one of the financial sponsors of the process, it should be equally important for New Zealand to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, that the process itself leading up to free and fair elections, is sound and credible.

"To state categorically that whatever the outcome New Zealand will accept it without first being absolutely certain the process is credible is a concern to SODELPA and her political colleagues," Ro Teimumu said.

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