Election planning in Fiji is being seen as an encouraging sign that the country is moving towards democracy, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.
The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG), which includes government ministers from a number of member countries, met this week for a summit in Suva, and said yesterday that Fiji showed signs of positive progress.
Fiji has been under the control of a military regime since Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2006. The country was suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum in 2009 after failing to hold elections.
Mr McCully, who chaired this week's meeting, said ministers met Fijian politicians, as well as representatives of civil society and unions, and were encouraged by what they heard.
In particular, Mr McCully said the group welcomed assurances from Fiji that the process under way would lead to elections by September 2014, there would be no media restrictions in relation to the constitutional consultation process, and there would be no parliamentary seats reserved for the military.
The group will provide a report to forum leaders in the coming weeks about the country's progress, and about what other steps it believes are required.
- APNZBy Amelia Romanos Email Amelia