France encourages Fiji to move on with free and fair elections

Caption: Ambassador Montagnier and Mr. Alistair MacDonald share a light moment with US Ambassador Frankie Reed.

By JOSEPHINE NAVULA

Fiji?s journey through the positive for the past two years should be recognized by international communities.

This was urged by the Ambassador of France H.E Giles Montagnier.

?Last year will remain as the benchmark year for concrete action towards Fiji?s return to Democracy.?

?The year started with the lifting of the PER (Public Emergency Regulation) which was in fact the first concrete step, followed by the end to media censorship and the voter registration, which, with now over half a million people, is very positive,? Montagnier said.

He also added that the draft Constitution prepared by the electoral commission is currently under modification and as long as these modifications and the recent Political Parties Decree, that has raised some concerns, do not deter the course away from free and fair elections and Fiji?s return to democracy; that it would be unreasonable to comment on such internal political matters.

Speaking at a reception he hosted to farewell the outgoing Charg? d?Affaires a.i of the EU Delegation to the Pacific Mr Alistair MacDonald; Mr Montagnier also applauded the recent cooperation of the EU countries in Suva saying that working together for the last few months have been very fruitful.

France contributes 20% to the European Union fund which provides financial backing to regional projects mainly through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community; and is also a major contributor to the United Nations agencies.

The reception, held at the Residence of France in Suva, was attended by Fiji Government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps and the international community.

Ambassador Montagnier is also accredited to Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.

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