14 Dec 2004

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs meet to decide new vice president

6:55 pm on 14 December 2004

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs will meet today to decide on President Iloilo's nomination of a new vice president.

The appointment has been surrounded by controversy because the previous holder of the office, Ratu Jope Seniloli, was jailed in August for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president during the coup.

Seniloli resigned only after the attorney general and minister for justice, Qoriniasi Bale, released him after just three and a half months of a four-year sentence.

President Iloilo will present his nomination to the Great Council whose members will then vote on whether they accept the recommendation.

Some pro-coup chiefs have threatened to vote against the nominee if they think the president's choice had been influenced by the military.

The military is insisting that it does not want anyone tainted by the coup or with a criminal background as vice president.

This is because the vice president might become the president in future and therefore the commander-in-chief of the military.

The military has warned the pro-coup chiefs NOT to intimidate President Iloilo in his nomination of a vice president, adding that the army will stand by its commander-in-chief.