Monday, May 06, 2013

Fiji: Glad to be wrong

When the Fijian regime announced draconian political party registration rules in January, I thought it was an attempt to shut down all political activity. The rules made it very difficult for parties to register, while effectively outlawing political activity without registration. And when despite that three parties did manage to jump through the regime's hoops and assemble the 5,000 signatures necessary for registration, the regime accused them of fraud. The sudden resignation of the Registrar of Political Parties for "personal reasons" on the day registration decisions were supposed to be announced also did not add to the credibility of the process, and the subsequent two month delay suggested that the regime had no intention of allowing any political competition.

But it turns out I was wrong: all three parties which have applied have been registered. That's still not enough for real political competition, but at least one more party has applied, and there are rumours of two more (including the regime's own political vehicle) in the pipeline. So if the regime ever does hold the elections it has been promising for six years (elections Bainimarama does not seem keen on), people might actually be able to contest them after all.