Fiji’s military ruler today announced he would call elections in 2010 to restore parliamentary rule in the coup-prone South Pacific country.
Armed forces chief Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who installed himself as prime minister after ousting the elected government on December 5, issued a statement setting out a timetable for the country to return to democratic rule.
“Under this roadmap Fiji will be ready for a general election and a full restoration of parliamentary democracy in 2010,” Mr Bainimarama said.
The plan takes into account the need to restore Fiji’s poorly-performing economy and stabilise government finances, and reflects the military’s “aspiration” to remove corruption from government, Mr Bainimarama said.
He installed what he said was an interim government after the military seized power from Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in a bloodless coup.
Mr Bainimarama said he was compelled to act against the government because corruption had flourished under Mr Qarase, and because of proposed laws that would grant pardons to plotters in a 2000 coup and hand lucrative land rights to indigenous Fijians at the expense of the large ethnic Indian minority.
Mr Bainimarama has said he plans to restore democracy through elections, but has not previously set a timeframe.