29 Jul 2008

Fiji coup leaders depend on Chaudhry, says academic

3:37 pm on 29 July 2008

A political analyst in Fiji has suggested that interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, may not be able to sack his finance minister despite criticism of his performance in the job.

Dr Steve Ratuva of the University of the South Pacific says he believes there is considerable opposition to Mahendra Chaudhry within Cabinet and the business community, in addition to the military council.

But Dr Ratuva says the opportunities to remove him may be limited:

"I think the Prime Minister still has the power to sack him, but I'm not sure that he might be able to do that because there is the theory that if he does that Chaudhry can easily turn around 180 degrees and join hands with Qarase and when he joins hands with Qarase that will isolate Frank Bainimarama and he needs at least some political support to sustain the coup."

Dr Ratuva says if Mr Chaudhry did take that action the Commodore could find himself politically isolated.