MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 11:00AM 21/06/13

1.?MORE FIJIANS REGISTERED FOR 2014 ELECTIONS -?Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has reported that more Fijians have registered for the 2014 general elections.

2.?PM UPDATES MSG LEADERS ON ELECTIONS PROGRESS -?Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has updated Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders on Fiji?s progress towards parliamentary democracy during a retreat as part of the ?19th MSG Leaders Summit yesterday.

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1.MORE FIJIANS REGISTERED FOR 2014 ELECTIONS

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has reported that more Fijians have registered for the 2014 general elections.

He told Melanesian leaders gathered at the 19th MSG Leaders Summit yesterday that 80 per cent of the Fijian population have registered.

?More than 80 per cent of the estimated number of eligible voters, which equates to over half a million Fijians, have registered for the elections,? PM Bainimarama said.

?This is very encouraging given the challenges of reaching out to our disadvantaged communities in the rural and remote islands.?

PM Bainimarama said preparatory work for the country?s elections was well underway which will be on the basis of one person, one vote, one value instead of the racially weighted method employed until recently.

?Fiji would hold for the first time in its history a truly democratic parliamentary elections by September 2014,? he said.

?At present, the elections office is working on a system whereby Fijian voters abroad can also register for the 2014 elections and any Fijian over the age of 18 or who turns 18 before the election is also entitled to register to vote in the 2014 elections.?

Phase three of the Electronic Voter Registration for next year?s elections began in June and will be completed by the end of the month.

PM Bainimarama acknowledged the support of foreign countries that have contributed towards Fiji?s election process.

?I sincerely appreciate and acknowledge the generosity of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea for the endowment of the 50million kinas as financial assistance that will go towards the 2014 general elections process.?

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2.PM?UPDATES MSG LEADERS ON ELECTIONS PROGRESS

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has updated Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders on Fiji?s progress towards parliamentary democracy during a retreat as part of the ?19th MSG Leaders Summit yesterday.

He said the Fijian people have been given the opportunity for a transparent and open dialogue process for the formulation of a new constitution in readiness for the 2014 national elections.

?The new constitution will amplify the voices and earnest wishes of the Fijian people and also provide a distillation of Fiji?s reform agenda that will lay the foundations for a progressive and sustainable Fiji,? PM Bainimarama said.

He said Fiji is currently at a crucial juncture in its 42 year history as an independent nation.

?We, as a nation, are enduring the most critical phase of our journey towards sustainable democracy,? PM Bainimarama added.

PM Bainimarama highlighted that a number of international and regional organisations including the UN, the Commonwealth, ACP and the Pacific Islands Forum, have recently carried out their own assessment of Fiji?s progress towards the 2014 Elections.

?These visits have taken note of the satisfactory progress Fiji is making and have also spotlighted areas where assistance can be rendered to ensure that the roadmap towards elections is effectively realized,? PM Bainimarama said.

Regarding the registration of political parties, the head of Government said the Political Parties Decree 2013 specified a modern and transparent process for registration and conduct of political parties.

?The Decree has also for the first time in Fiji introduced accountability and transparency with respect to the funding and accounts of political parties,? PM Bainimarama said.

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