11 Apr 2007

Heads of three Fijian Confederacies not invited to chiefs' meeting

9:40 am on 11 April 2007

The heads of the three traditional Fijian confederacies will not be present at today's meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs which will appoint the country's new vice president.

The three are the head of the Burebasaga Confederacy, Ro Teimumu Kepa; the head of the Tovata Confederacy, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu; and Bau high chief, Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau.

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, is reported as saying Ro Teimumu, Ratu Naiqama and Adi Samanunu are not members of the council and have not been invited.

The decision follows concerns about the December meeting of the chiefs when non-members were invited to attend.

Only members will attend today's meeting where President Iloilo will announce his choice for Fiji's new vice president.

The chiefs will split up into their traditional confederacies to consider the nomination before deciding whether to endorse it.

The chiefs are also expected to discuss the December military takeover, the post-coup clean-up campaign, and ways to move the country forward.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama, is expected to brief the chiefs on these issues.