3 Oct 2007

Review recommends extensive changes to Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs

11:13 am on 3 October 2007

A task force appointed to review Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs after it was suspended in April has recommended sweeping reforms.

Fiji TV reports that among the recommendations is for the president to appoint the members of the new Great Council of Chiefs until the body meets to approve a new nominating authority.

The main aim of the recommendations is to make the body non-political and the report says chiefs will have to choose between serving in the Great Council or being involved in party politics.

Prospective nominees to the body who have been involved in party politics will not be eligible for membership and will have to undergo a 5-year stand-down period.

Chiefs not eligible will be those who have been a member of either house of parliament in the last 5 years, a candidate in an election or an office bearer of a political party.

Also not eligible will be those who are un-discharged bankrupts, those who are under a sentence of imprisonment and those released from prison in the previous five years.

The president, the vice president and the prime minister will not be eligible to be members of the new Great Council of Chiefs.

The recommendations have to be approved by the interim cabinet and promulgated by the president before they are implemented.