SUVA – The new rules in place for political parties by the government in the new Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure Decree 2013 are unduly onerous and unworkable, says the National Federation Party (NFP).
Party general secretary, Pramod Rae said the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s announcement that existing parties must comply within 28 days or be wound up and prosecuted was also ‘unrealistic’.
“It is unlikely any existing party will be able to achieve full compliance within the 28 days and hence will be disqualified from the Constituent Assembly,” Rae said.
He said the decree impeded freedom of association and expression of political views by Fijians and their right to choose their party officers, when it should be facilitating it.
“The restrictions on party activity recently have severely depleted party resources needed to meet the new membership criteria, including opening branch offices in every division and other severe requirements of the decree,” he said.
Rae said the decree also unfairly discriminated between existing parties who had only 28 days to comply or be wound up and prosecuted, and new parties who had until 30 days before the next election to organise themselves.