Australia invited to oversee Fijian election

THE Fijian Government has invited Australia to lead a multi-national observation group to oversee the country's general election next month.

It will be the first election in Fiji since Frank Bainimarama seized power in 2006 during a military coup.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Wednesday Australia will lead the group along with delegates from Indonesia, India and Papua New Guinea.

She has appointed former Defence Minister Peter Reith to lead the Australian team saying he had a strong interest in supporting democracy internationally.

"We look forward to working closely with the other co-lead nations as well as with all other participating countries," she said.

"Australian officials will deploy to Suva in coming days to establish a secretariat and to begin the mission's work."

The multinational observation group will have freedom of movement throughout Fiji and will communicate with the government, political parties and other social and political organisations in the country.

It will assess whether the outcome of the general election broadly represents the will of the Fijian voters.

The election is scheduled to be held on September 17.

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