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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Fiji Labour Files Case Against Political Party Decree
Despite re-registering, Labour claims decree detracts from rights

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 14, 2013) – The Fiji Labour Party has joined the National Federation Party in registering as political parties ahead of last night’s midnight deadline.

Existing political parties had until midnight last night to lodge their applications with the Registrar of Political Parties, which must satisfy strict new criteria, including them having to sign-up 5,000 members.

The SDL party was forced to wind up under the regime’s decree, although the party is to reform under a new name.

The Labour Party has also filed legal proceedings asking the High Court to set aside the Political Parties Registration Decree and to stop the Registrar from de-registering the Party pending the court decision.

The party says parts of the decree detract from the universally recognized and accepted principles and values of democracy and human rights.

It also claims the decree denies the workers and their trade unions the right to form and belong to political parties of their choice as enshrined in ILO Freedom of Association provisions.

The party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry says he is saddened by the plight of the people after six years of misrule by the Bainimarama regime.

He says poverty has escalated, unemployment is high, the value of the dollar has slumped and investment is negligible because of political instability and the absence of the rule of law.

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