Fiji fully suspended from the Commonwealth after failure to call election

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The South Pacific island nation of Fiji has been fully suspended by the Commonwealth of Nations after it refused to call elections by next year. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the country failed to show progress towards democracy.

Fiji has been suspended before. After two coup d'états in 1987, the nation was suspended for 10 years. In 2000, Fiji was again suspended for eighteen months. The only other nation which has been suspended fully by the Commonwealth is Nigeria, which was suspended in 1995, but later re-instated.

Fiji failed to reach the September 1 deadline to announce a date for elections to be held in the country. Fiji has already been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum and some European aid has been cut off. The Commonwealth had previously suspended the country for eighteen months in 2000.

"The deadline of September 1 was set at a meeting on July 31, but no progress has been made since then so Fiji has been suspended with immediate effect," Commonwealth spokesman Eduardo del Buey said.

With the suspension Fiji will be banned from participating at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.


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