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Eyes on polls

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, August 16, 2014

AUSTRALIAN officials will soon be deployed to Suva to establish a secretariat as they prepare to lead the Multinational Observation Group for the Fiji elections.

Australia co-leads the mission with India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The Australian contingent will be represented by experienced former cabinet minister Peter Reith, who has a strong interest in supporting democracy internationally.

India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea will also co-lead the mission. Mr Reith leads a group of Australian observers consisting of a bipartisan group of current and former parliamentarians, as well as experts and officials.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Fiji's invitation to co-lead the mission was a sign of the continued engagement between the two countries.

"This development is a further sign of the Australian Government's commitment to normalise relations with Fiji, as well as our support to Fiji's electoral process and return to democracy," Ms Bishop said.

Ms Bishop says the terms of reference make clear the Multinational Observation Group will have freedom of movement throughout Fiji and will communicate with the Fijian Government, political parties and other social and political organisations in Fiji.

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