21 Dec 2006

Fiji's GCC coup response delayed

1:47 pm on 21 December 2006

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs is reported to be having difficulty in reaching a decision on resolving the current crisis and has adjourned its meeting till 4.00pm local time today.

The GCC secretariat has confirmed that the traditional confederacies of Kubuna and Burebasaga have reached consensus in relation to a proposal recommending immunity for the military in return for handing over power to the ousted president.

But the chiefs from the Tovata confederacy have said that individual provincial chiefs from each confederacy should have their own say on the proposal.

Radio Legend reports that the commander of the Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment and Lau chief, Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, is heading talks for Tovata as its paramount chief, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, has been absent from the chiefs' meeting.

The report says the chiefs are trying to come to a resolution which reflects the views of all the 14 indigenous provinces.

The Great Council of Chiefs is expected to arrive at its final decision by the end of the day.

The chiefs are also expected to decide whether they still recognise the position of the ousted president and vice president or whether they recognise the military commander as the acting head of state.

Under the proposal currently before the chiefs, the military would hand executive authority back to Ratu Josefa Iloilo in return for immunity from prosecution.

The proposal also includes the resignation of the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, the dissolution of parliament and the formation of a civilian Interim Government of National Unity.