25 Mar 2006

Fiji government may go to Supreme Court over row with military

10:26 am on 25 March 2006

The Fiji government says it could be forced to go to the Supreme Court if the military continues to shun legal opinion on its constitutional role.

The chief executive officer of the Prime Minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu, made the comment after the military dismissed a legal opinion from New Zealand on its role.

The vice president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi sought advice from the New Zealand government, allegedly after threats of a military coup.

It contradicts the military's interpretation of the constitution, which makes it responsible for the security, defence and wellbeing of Fiji and its people.

Mr Kotobalavu says the military must respect legal advice.

"The Fiji military forces, just like any other state agency or government department or ministry, will observe the correct position in law, particularly under the constitution, that the government that is elected by the people must be respected."

He says the military's interpretation differs from every legal opinion sought by the government.