Concluding statement and outcomes of the Political Leaders Meeting
Apr 9, 2009, 14:49
1.1 The meeting of the Prime Minister’s initiated Political Parties Meeting held at the Police Academy, Suva on April 9 2009 started with a prayer and the opening remarks by the Prime Minister.
1.2 The Meeting noted through the Prime Minister’s opening remarks that the 4 Political Parties namely, SDL, NFP, NVTPL and UPP were not present given their inability to commit in an unambiguous fashion to Electoral reform and to moving Fiji forward.
2.0 Objective of the President’s Political Dialogue Forum (PPDF
The Meeting approved the following objectives of the PPDF as a general guide to consensus building with respect to issues that arise under the three Agenda items agreed to at the Meeting on March 13, 2009 namely:
(1) the Democratic Experience in Fiji and Parliamentary Reform;
(2) Electoral Reform and General Election; and
(3) the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.
2.1 Objectives Adopted
2.1.1 The President’s Political Dialogue Forum ( PPDF ), as a nationally constituted and broadly representative group of key stakeholders including all the political parties, NGO/Civil Society organizations and the Interim Government, to reflect and dialogue over matters that will form the basis of returning the country to the path of sustainable Constitutional democracy, including through Parliamentary Elections within a timeframe and methods of implementation that will be agreed to by consensus, by at least a two-thirds majority, of members of the PPDF.
2.1.2 Conduct dialogue based on openness, respect for political differences, inclusiveness, appropriate confidentiality, tolerance of cultural and religious diversity, respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles.
2.1.3 Critically review the root causes of racism and divisive race based politics in Fiji’s history and the various causes and consequences of political instabilities, including the successive coups, and agree to reforms of Parliament and governance institutions in order to develop a stronger sense of national loyalty, cohesion, unity and national identity in the Fiji Islands.
2.1.4 Review past and current electoral systems, their results and consequences, and reach consensus on the adoption and implementation of a new Electoral system, one that satisfies internationally accepted human right standards and criteria for evaluation of electoral systems, and based on voter equality and not on race and thus strengthen political stability, national integration and inclusiveness.
2.1.5 Review the vision and each of the Pillars of the Peoples Charter including the relevant chapters of the State of the Nation and Economy (SNE) Report and the related records of research and dialogues of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) that formed the background of these documents and identify issues that need further examination and appropriate dialogues to make further recommendations of programmes and implementation strategies that will contribute to strengthening the values and principles of the Peoples Charter and Fiji’s response to the current world economic crisis.
2.1.6 To work with the United Nations and Commonwealth Mediation Team in preparation of the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Working Groups of the PPDF, under agreed ground rules and decision-making process and identify issues within the agreed Agenda of critical interest and where there are disagreement, to seriously consider proposals and solutions that will achieve consensus based agreement.
2.1.7 Through effective mechanisms, the PPDF to engage the broad spectrum of civil society in informed discussions on issues and to consider views and submissions and integrate such feedback and thus ensure the solutions developed by the PPDF enjoy the confidence and support of the people of the Fiji Islands.
2.1.8 Publish a Report on the President’s Political Dialogue Forum and its Outcomes in Terms of an Agreement to be adopted formally as an Accord by all the stakeholders constituting the membership of the PPDF. That this formal Agreement should include, inter alia, time-bound actions in regard to electoral reform, the general election, and the implementation of the Peoples Charter.
3.0 Principles for Mediation Support from the UN and Commonwealth
3.1 The Principles
Based on the principles advanced by the UN and Commonwealth for Mediation support, the meeting decided that:
(a) The political dialogue be independent, inclusive, time bound, and be binding as to its outcome.
(b) The Mediation Team should be acceptable to both the Interim government and political party leaders.
(c) The dialogue process and associated mediation support should be fully independent.
(d) The Mediation team should have unrestricted access to key individuals and groups and all necessary information throughout the process while respecting the principle of confidentiality.
(e) Decision making throughout the process should be based on general agreement among all members present.
(f) All Parties to the Dialogue should be represented by duly designated delegate(s) with authority to enter into agreements.
(g) That there is no pre-determined outcome to the Dialogue and that the final resolution will be one developed jointly by all participants of the PPDF.
(h) That 15 identified NGO/Civil Society organizations will be full participants in decision-making. Engagement with other NGO/Civil Society organizations shall be decided by the PPDF proper members in consultation with the UN and Commonwealth Mediation Team.
4.0 Composition of the UN/Commonwealth Mediation Team
4.1 The Meeting discussed the UN and Commonwealth letter of March 12, 2009 and the proposed Mediation team.
4.2 The Meeting regretted that Sir Rabbie Namaliu had withdrawn his candidacy for Team Leader. The Meeting proposed that the Commonwealth Officers and/or the Government of Fiji approach three other eminent persons namely, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore as Chief Mediator and Sir Geoffrey Henry of the Cook Islands and Professor Yash Ghai of Kenya as Advisers.
5.0 Proposal of the United Nations and Commonwealth for Decision Making Process Towards Agreement in the PPDF
5.1 The Meeting endorsed and agreed to the following:
· that the primary goal of the President’s Political Dialogue Forum is to reach agreement on the spectrum of issues within the agreed Agenda;
· Parties to an Agreement in the PPDF are the representatives of the Interim Government including the representatives of Political Parties and the appointed fifteen (15) NGO/Civil Society members;
· 15 representatives of the NGO/Civil Society organizations in the PPDF will participate fully in the dialogue;
· the threshold for an Agreement to be achieved in the PPDF will be two-thirds (2/3) of the members present;
· parties can explicitly stand aside from agreement on any issue without preventing consensus being reached through the minimum threshold on the package of solutions agreed for the Agenda as a whole; and
· Political Parties endorse the procedure recommended by the UN Commonwealth Team to deal with events of impasse or significant disagreement.
6.0 NGO/Civil Society Membership of PPDF
6.1 The Meeting agreed that 15 NGO/Civil Society Members be included as full members of the PPDF.
6.2 In its deliberations further NGO/Civil Society names were considered. The Meeting agreed that the Prime Minister finalise the list of NGO/Civil Society membership as he had been mandated on 13 March, 2009 to do so.
7.0 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Commonwealth Ministerial Action Groups (CMAG) Statements on Fiji
7.1 The Meeting agreed that all stakeholders including Political Parties, Government and NGO/Civil Society recognize the need to work towards a timeline, for the earliest possible restoration of parliamentary governance in Fiji. In this regard, Leaders resolved to ensure that the forthcoming President’s Political Dialogue Forum (PPDF) will give this matter highest priority and urgency, with a view to achieving, with due speed, broad-based consensus on electoral reforms. It was noted that from the time at which such consensus is reached, the Electoral Commission has indicated that it would take at least 12 to 15 months to convene the general elections. Given that there is consensus and agreement to this process to restore parliamentary democracy, the Meeting on April 9, 2009 appeal to the Pacific Island Forum Leaders, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, European Union and all of Fiji’s development partners to respect this PPDF process and to show understanding, realism and flexibility in their policies towards Fiji.
7.2 The Meeting resolved that the PPDF process continue until such time as it publishes its Report.
Thursday 9th April, 2009
April 09, 2009
Political Leaders Meeting Outcomes
So we're guessing that as Bainimarama et al have just been declared by the Fiji Court of Appeal as ILLEGAL, the outcomes from today's farcical Political Leaders Meeting are pretty much null and void right now.