29 Jul 2009

Academic says Fiji's departing President was puppet of interim regime

8:52 am on 29 July 2009

An academic specialising on Fiji issues says that Fiji's departing President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has effectively been a puppet for the interim regime.

The interim regime has announced Ratu Josefa will retire at the end of next month, and a new president will be appointed by the chief justice upon the recommendation of the Cabinet.

Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who was the indigenous affairs minister, and a former military commander, will be acting in the position until a new president is sworn in.

Jonathan Fraenkel of the Australia National University, says that since the 2006 coup Ratu Josefa has been ineffectual as President.

"He was clearly a puppet of the military, he didn't fulfill his constitutional responsibilities he didn't uphold the legitimacy of the elected government, he didn't defend the prime minister, and that I think is a sad legacy."

Jonathan Fraenkel.