International monitors endorse Fiji election, paving way for remaining sanctions to be dropped

A group of international observers who were scrutinizing this week's landmark Fiji election say the process was credible and the result should broadly reflect the will of voters.

The endorsement by the 100-strong Multinational Observer Group paves the way for the international community to drop remaining sanctions against Fiji. That includes a likely return of Fiji this month to full status among the Commonwealth group of nations.

Fiji held its first election Thursday since military ruler Voreqe Bainimarama seized control in a 2006 coup.

Bainimarama ran in the election and his Fiji First party was headed to a decisive victory. With votes from three-fifths of polling stations counted, Fiji First was winning 60 percent of the vote, while its closest rival, the Sodelpa party, was trailing with 27 percent.