11 Oct 2007

Fiji interim administration says new National Council a step forward to democracy

11:32 am on 11 October 2007

The Fiji interim government says the launch of the new National Council is a step forward for the country.

Fiji's president yesterday launched the 40 member council to provide policy advice, as there is no parliament in Fiji.

The council will be co-chaired by the interim prime minister and the catholic archbishop, Petero Mataca, and have 26 members from non-governmental institutions acting as advisors.

A spokesperson for the interim government, Parmesh Chand, says it will encourage public participation in political debate.

"It has been formed to allow for a harnessing of views to allow consensus to develop on these views through participation by the people. This is largely in the absence of an elected parliament."

Parmesh Chand says they will now start to appoint members from political parties, religious bodies, Fijian institutions and civil societies.

Parmesh Chand would not say who those people might be and how well they might represent all communities.