Experts say Fiji in danger of becoming the Burma of the South Pacific

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Vanua Levu (Fiji), Apr.13 (ANI): Years of stifling military rule and financial destitution are propelling Fiji towards becoming the Burma of the South Pacific, claim regional experts.

These commentators, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, have labelled the latest developments in Fiji an outrage.

With the country's military ruler, Frank Bainimarama, returning to the leadership helm with more power than ever in spite of a court ruling that termed his 2006 coup illegal under the country's 1997 constitution, the experts have described the latest political situation in the island nation a total charade.

"This was all a total charade, just a hoax that spits in the face of democracy," said Professor Brij Lal, a Pacific specialist at the Australian National University.

"The President is a senile old man, a puppet in the pocket of the military.

Frustrated world leaders who have long been calling for elections to return the country to democracy have roundly condemned the actions, which include stringent media censorship.

Bainimarama says the events give Fiji a "fresh start", but Lal says it is more akin to a big step backwards.

"Fiji is in serious danger of becoming the next Burma, where the military has entrenched itself with a sham kind of parliament and pays no heed to international opinion over many, many years," he added.

Fijians have not protested at the turn of events. Lal says people are either scared of retribution or are complacent after 28 months of military rule.

ANU academic Dr Jon Fraenkel said the military, with its harassment of the media, clearly feared some kind of popular reaction from Fijians hit hard by the new turn of events. (ANI)

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