27 Jan 2006

Lobbying for Fiji presidency and vice presidency

9:19 am on 27 January 2006

Intense lobbying has begun among members of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs for the two most prestigious offices in the country - those of the president and the vice president.

The Daily Post reports that the Great Council will meet in Suva on March 13th with the main topic of discussion being the appointment of a new president and a vice president.

The current president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, who is 85 and seeking medical treatment abroad, will step down at the end of his current term in May.

The vice-president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, was appointed to the position for the remainder of the term of the former holder of the office, Ratu Jope Seniloli, who was forced to resign after being jailed for trying to usurp the presidency during the coup.

Ratu Joni has been acting as president since last month and last week brokered a peace agreement between the military and the government.

According to traditional Fijian protocol on rotating the presidency among the three indigenous confederacies, Ratu Joni should be appointed president.

But with intense lobbying for both jobs, the new holders of the two offices will only be known when the Great Council of Chiefs makes its decision.