Update: 6:19am – Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has withdrawn his legal application challenging constitutional provisions barring him from contesting the 2018 general elections.

The government had filed an application to have the action struck down.

The decision to withdraw the matter was taken when the Judge declined to grant an adjournment to enable Mr Chaudhry to file amended summons.

The leader of Fiji’s Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry Photo: AFP

Under the Constitution, anyone convicted of an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, is barred from contesting the elections for 8 years.

The Labour Party said in 2014 the Electoral Commission recommended the provision be amended but the government has not acted.

In a statement the party said it’s clear that the Section 56 was deliberately inserted in the constitution to bar former Prime Ministers Mahendra Chaudhry and Laisenia Qarase from contesting future elections.

In 2012 Mr Qarase was convicted on a matter that went back 20 years and sentenced to one year imprisonment. In Mr Chaudhry’s case, he was charged for a matter that he had been cleared of by an independent inquiry in 2008. He was not jailed, but the offence under the Exchange Control Act carried a sentence of more than one year.

Mahenra Chaudhry also missed out on standing in the 2014 elections despite indicating his intention to do so.

-RNZ

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