17 Apr 2009

Nailatikau sworn in as Fiji vice-president

5:04 pm on 17 April 2009

A minister in the Fiji interim government, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has been sworn in as vice-president.

His appointment was made under the eighth decree by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, a week after he abrogated the Constitution.

Ratu Epeli has been the indigenous affairs minister and is a former military commander and former parliamentary speaker.

The vice-presidency had been vacant since the 2006 military coup when the military removed Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

Under the constitution, the body to appoint the president and vice-president was the great Council of Chiefs.

The council had been suspended before the Easter turmoil as it had refused to approve the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama's 2006 post-coup claim that he was the president.

Today's ceremony to swear in Ratu Epeli was attended by diplomats from China, India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati.