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Solidarity marks Independence Day

Solidarity, sense of belonging and joy were the hallmarks of the Fiji Independence Day celebrations held in Auckland and Wellington.

Speaking at an official reception held on October 17 at Langham Hotel in Auckland, Acting Head of Mission Mere Tora said that the Government of Fiji, headed by Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama was taking steps to hold general elections in Fiji next year.

“Our Government will take all steps to ensure that the general elections are free and fair. Our new Constitution assures equal status of all citizens. We hope that all those eligible to vote will exercise their franchise,” she said.

Ms Tora said that preparations are being made for voter registration of all Fijians holding Fijian passports resident in New Zealand and that notifications will be issued from time to time through the media and on the High Commission’s website.

Auckland based Honorary Consul Harish Lodhia said that as a sovereign nation, Fiji had the right to determine its destiny with principles of self-respect, integrity, dignity and honour.

“Independence Day is an occasion for us to pause and reflect on the events of the past and reaffirm our determination to march towards our chosen path of progress and prosperity with our avowed principles of peace, goodwill and understanding towards all countries of the world,” he said.

Mr Lodhia said that returning to democracy was not an easy process for a nation that has experienced four coups in less than 20 years but determination and cooperation of the people will make the process success.

“Our new Constitution has introduced long overdue democratic principles. For the first time, we will have an electoral system that removes the legal enforcement of ethnic voting, enshrines one person, one vote, one value and helps voters focus on the merits of the policies offered by respective political parties,” he said.

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