11 Aug 2009

Fiji regime defers naming head of state

5:52 pm on 11 August 2009

The Fiji interim regime has put off naming a new president after the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, had said a new head of state would be named in today's cabinet meeting.

The delay has been reported by the website Fijivillage.

Commodore Bainimarama has said the new office holder can be of any race.

At the weekend the previous president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, was farewelled - four months after Ratu Josefa had taken the extraordinary step of saying he had abrogated the 1997 constitution.

Under the constitution, the power to choose a president rests with the Great Council of Chiefs which used to select an indigenous Fijian.

When Ratu Josefa retired at the end of last month, a former military commander, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, was put in his place as acting president.

Commodore Bainimarama also briefly purported to be the president after he staged the 2006 coup but the Great Council of Chiefs refused to confirm him in the position.