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Monday May 5, 2014 MYT 4:07:00 PM
Monday May 5, 2014 MYT 4:10:13 PM
SUVA, Fiji: Fiji strongman Voreqe Bainimarama on Monday applied to register his political party ahead of the coup-plagued Pacific nation's return to democracy scheduled for September.
Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, stepped down from the military in March so he can contest the September 17 election.
He said his new party, called Fiji First, had attracted more than 40,000 members, well above the 5,000 required to qualify for registration.
"Our approach, as demonstrated through my leadership, is to work for and with Fijians," he told the FijiLive news website.
"Our branches and branch officials will represent our youth, our women and Fijians from all walks of life."
Fiji has experienced four coups since 1987 stemming from tensions between indigenous Fijians and ethnic Indians descended from sugar plantation labourers shipped in by the British during the colonial era.
Bainimarama has pledged to root out corruption and introduce a one-person, one-vote system to end racial inequalities.
His authoritarian regime has brought stability but also attracted criticism for ditching the constitution, sacking the judiciary and curbing media freedom. -AFP
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