Labour supports reforms to the electoral system

  • 23rd July 2008
  • 2008
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The Fiji Labour Party has resolved to support the Interim Government’s initiative to adopt a People’s Charter as the best way to move the nation forward.

The decision was among six resolutions on important national issues adopted by the Party’s Delegates’ Conference held in Ba on Saturday .

The conference attended by FLP officials and former Members of Parliament Fiji-wide, also welcomed Government’s initiative to institute electoral reforms before holding the next elections.

It reiterated Labour’s stand since 1997 that the electoral arrangements under the 1997 Constitution were undemocratic and racially divisive, and called for reforms fair to all ethnic communities and that would ensure vote of equal value.

Noting that the FLP had twice been a victim of rigged elections, in 2001 and 2006, FLP delegates want reforms to ensure “adequate safeguards to prevent the electoral machinery being manipulated to the unfair advantage of any one political party”.

Recommendations of the report of the independent inquiry into the 2006 general elections instituted by the Fiji Human Rights Commission as well as recommendations by Observer missions should be taken on board, the conference resolved.

In resolving to support the People’s Charter, the FLP said lasting peace, political stability and socio-economic prosperity in Fiji would only be possible if the nation were “firmly anchored on the tenets of good governance, equality of all citizens, fair opportunities free from all forms of racial discrimination, and social justice”.

The Party supported an early return to democratic rule but resolved that reforms to the electoral system were imperative to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

FLP Delegates also called for an inquiry into the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate inordinate delays in taking certain important national cases to court despite the fact that investigations into many of these cases had been completed and files sent to the DPP’s office. The DPP should be sent on leave to enable a proper inquiry to be conducted.

The Party expressed serious concern at the deteriorating law and order situation in the country particularly the increase in violent home invasions and robberies.

It called for the Police Force to adopt effective strategies to combat the rapidly declining crime situation and for existing Police resources to be better deployed in fighting crime.

The Party commended steps taken so far by the Interim Government to return the country to financial stability and to revive the economy after six years of misrule and mismanagement.

It also expressed appreciation for the timely action taken by the administration to cushion the adverse impact on the struggling poor of escalating fuel and food prices.

But suggested that the government pursue a more vigorous policy to develop the agricultural sector as a means of growing more food and to improve the income and lifestyles of rural people.

Labour also underscored the need for greater initiatives to attract foreign investment to foster economic growth and create more job opportunities.