Taken from/By: FBC News Report by: Mika Loga
The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group has called for more breathing space and full engagement of political parties in the electoral process.
The Group however has noted significant progress in the area since their last visit in April 2013.
FMCG members and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says, political parties should be able to meet freely and campaign openly in the lead up to the elections.
“We’ve encouraged Fiji to ensure that it adopts laws and practices that encourage freedom of speech, freedom of the media, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. These are the fundamental values of a democracy and I feel sure that Fiji would want to embrace these freedoms as underpinning the return to democratic rule in this country.”
Ministerial Contact Group Chairman Murray McCully describes their encounters with political parties, trade unions and the government as positive adding this might just be the last time the Group will visit before the general election.
“We’ll just wait and see as we get a little bit closer to the time but if things work out we would certainly hope this is our last formal visit here. We may well be able to do the next stage which is report back after the elections based on the Observer Missions that are here that would be our preference.”
The Ministerial Contact left Fiji on Saturday.