SYDNEY - The Commonwealth has expressed concerns over the political situation in Fiji.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said he hoped the appointment of an interim government would only be a temporary measure.
"The Commonwealth's primary concern remains the restoration of constitutional rule and democratic government in Fiji," Mr McKinnon said in a statement.
"It is, therefore, essential that the interim government should be no more than a step towards the restoration of democracy."
Fiji's military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in an armed but bloodless coup on December 5.
Mr McKinnon said he was particularly disappointed that Commodore Bainimarama had assumed the post of interim prime minister while continuing as the head of the army.
"(It) is inconsistent with the Commonwealth's fundamental principles," he said.
"This position has been consistently upheld by Commonwealth Heads of Government."
The lack of clarity over the status of Fiji's National Assembly and Senate, both of which were suspended by the military regime, was also a worry, the secretary-general said.
The suspension, along with the coup itself, seriously violated the Commonwealth's fundamental principles, he said.
"Until constitutional democracy is restored, the people of Fiji continue to be denied their full and fundamental human rights," he said.