10 Jan 2007

Fiji's chiefs back new interim government

4:28 pm on 10 January 2007

Fiji's high chiefs have thrown their weight behind the military-led interim government, headed by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

But the Great Council of Chiefs says fresh elections must be held as early as possible to return the country to democratic rule.

The GCC - which had condemned the overthrow of the Qarase government last month - says it accepts the President's appointment of the interim administration.

The council's chairman, Ratu Ovini Bokini, says they recognise Ratu Josefa Iloilo as President, even though the military commander assumed executive authority after the coup.

"We accepted that. We would like to see that the country's taken forward and the earliest possible time for us to have or to restore democratic rule."

Ratu Ovini says the chiefs support the rule of law and are calling on the people to work with the new interim government so that the country can move forward.