Fiji sets 17 September general election date

Fiji strongman Frank Bainimarama speaks during a ceremony as he resigns as military chief, in Suva, 5 March 2014 Mr Bainimarama has resigned as military chief so he can run in the election

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Fiji is to hold its first general election since the 2006 coup on 17 September, its military rulers have announced.

The news came less than a month after Frank Bainimarama stepped down as its military leader so he could contest the polls.

Mr Bainimarama led the coup that ousted democratically-elected PM Laisenia Qarase in December 2006.

Fiji experienced four coups between 1987 and 2006.

Australia and New Zealand imposed sanctions following the 2006 coup, while the Commonwealth fully suspended Fiji's membership in 2009, after the military government refused to call polls by 2010.

Some restrictions have been lifted as plans for the election have progressed, however.

The election day will be a national holiday to facilitate voting.

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