24 Aug 2002

Fiji PM agrees that the holder of his office should not sit in Great Council of Chiefs

4:09 am on 24 August 2002

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he agrees with a report which recommends that the holder of his office should not be a member of the Great Council of Chiefs.

But Mr Qarase says he does not agree with an Indo-Fijian being a member of the Great Council, as happened when the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, was prime minister before the May 2000 coup.

He says this is because the Great Council is only for indigenous Fijian chiefs.

Mr Qarase made the comment in a Fijian language programme on Radio Fiji in response to a report which reviewed the role of the Council.

The report recommended that the president, vice president and prime minister should lose their membership of the Great Council because their responsibilities could conflict with those of the Council.

Mr Qarase says he has no problem with the president and vice president being members of the Council because they will always be chiefs.