29 Mar 2005

Former Fiji soldier convicted over 2000 coup may contest election

4:07 am on 29 March 2005

A former Fiji soldier convicted for his role in the 2000 coup crisis may contest the 2006 general election under the banner of a nationalist party.

Ilisoni Ligairi, who formed the military's Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit, which has now been disbanded, is credited with masterminding the overthrow of the government.

He was initially charged with treason but was released from prison in February 2004 after serving two years of a three-year sentence on the lesser charge of kidnapping.

The Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party, which is the junior partner in the current government coalition, says they would grant him a ticket should he wish to stand under their banner.

Party leader Senator Ratu Josefa Dimuri says that Ligairi is a force to be reckoned with because he has a strong following in the North.

Ratu Josefa says the party would also consider others involved in the coup, especially those released from jail terms under Compulsory Supervision Orders.

Among these people are the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, nationalist Viliame Savu and others.