17 Apr 2007

Fiji's acting chief justice may be made acting president

7:50 pm on 17 April 2007

Fiji's acting chief justice, Anthony Gates, is being considered to act as the head of state when President Iloilo goes to Australia for a medical review next week.

Radio Legend reports that a number of legal options are being looked at after the Great Council of Chiefs rejected President Iloilo's nomination of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to be appointed vice president.

The radio says Justice Gates remains the ideal option to be the acting president.

The solicitor general's office is analysing the option before forwarding its opinion the President's Office.

Fiji's Constitution says in the absence of the president and the vice president, the Speaker of the House of Representatives may perform the functions of the president.

But currently there is no parliament and no speaker.

Before Sitiveni Rabuka's military coups in 1987 turned Fiji into a republic, the then chief justice used to perform the functions of the governor general in his absence.