PM delivers his promise to world

PRIME Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama told world leaders at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly held in New York he has delivered his promise of holding a credible election.

“Five years ago I stood in this great chamber and promised the global community that my government would introduce the first genuine democracy in Fiji’s history before the end of September 2014,” Mr Bainimarama said in his address.

“It is my honour to inform you that with the support of the Fijian people, I have kept that promise and I return here today (yesterday) as the duly elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji,” he said.

The PM said on September 17, he led his FijiFirst political movement to a decisive victory in the first election to be held under the Constitution on the basis of equal votes of equal value.

“This Constitution replaced three previous constitutions since our independence from Britain in 1970 in which governments were chosen under a weighted and discriminatory formula that separated the various communities and favoured some citizens over others.

“For nearly four decades, we laboured under a system that was undemocratic, unjust and unfair.

“Indeed, we were a case study of a nation that was supposedly democratic and casting itself as such, but was failing to meet some basic democratic standards – a common and equal citizenry, a common identity and a level playing field on which every citizen can excel.”

Mr Bainimarama said he had always heard election was key to having democracy.

“We in Fiji knew that this wasn’t the case, because our electoral system before it was reformed did not give true democracy.

“It did not facilitate justice, transparency or good governance.

“It was about reinforcing the power of elites and keeping the population divided into different communal groups,” he said.