18 Jul 2003

Qarase accepts court ruling but says he needs to consider political questions

3:29 pm on 18 July 2003

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase says he accepts the Supreme Court ruling.

Mr Qarase says he will first brief the president on the course he proposed to take and then confer with his colleagues in government, the caucus and the SDL party.

He says after that he will invite the leader of the Fiji Labour party for discussions.

Mr Qarase says the Supreme court has given the government the legal position and it is now his task to implement it, taking into account the political questions that the constitutions does not address.

The Prime Minister says the rule of law is indispensible to the affairs of a nation.

But he says the law does not operate in a vacuum and in the present context political judgements and decisions will be necessary.

The Labour Party has welcomed the Supreme Court ruling saying they had expected it because of the earlier Appeal Court judgment.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry says the Supreme Court has pointed out that power sharing is central to the constitution and says they will now await word from the Prime Minister because it is he who has to make the first move in this matter.