Thursday, 27 August 2009

Fiji faces expulsion from Commonwealth

Fiji faces expulsion from Commonwealth and suspension from 2010 Games Fiji's future in global politics appears more and more uncertain as its military regime has declined to hold elections any time soon. This may result in Fiji being expelled from group of .

The Commonwealth has set a deadline of 1-Sep for Frank Bainimarama, Fiji's self-appointed prime minister, to announce a return to democracy this decade or be cut off from all aid and banned from the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Fiji is already facing expulsion from the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum over its failure to announce a reasonable election date. If it is suspended from the Commonwealth, Fiji's military leaders will be barred from all inter-governmental Commonwealth meetings. It will also lose access to Commonwealth advice and technical assistance and member states will be encouraged to limit government-to-government contact with the country.

Bainimarama initially invited the Commonwealth to send a special envoy for talks this week aimed at keeping the South Pacific country in the organisation of Britain and its former colonies. He said he wanted a Commonwealth team to visit Fiji to get a "better picture" of the situation, but the two sides could not agree on a date.

Bainimarama, who ousted the elected government in a 2006 coup, has repeatedly said he will not call elections before 2014 so he can first fundamentally reform the country's electoral system and root out what he called endemic corruption.

Fiji has suffered four coups since 1987, prompting international sanctions each time and suspension from the Commonwealth twice.

The last country to be suspended from the group was Pakistan. The country was expelled for six months from 22 November 2007 when General Pervez Musharraf called a state of emergency. Suspended members are not represented at meetings of Commonwealth leaders and ministers, although they remain members of the organization.
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