5 Nov 2009

Ratu Epeli Nailatikau becomes new Fiji President

2:36 pm on 5 November 2009

Fiji's former military commander and parliamentary speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has been sworn in as the new President, succeeding Ratu Josefa Iloilo who retired in July.

Ratu Epeli, who is also the son-in-law of the late President Ratu Mara, was sworn in by the chief justice, Anthony Gates,

His appointment became public last week when the interim prime minister, Commodore Bainaimarama, told the Fiji Sun newspaper that Ratu Epeli had been confirmed to be the head of state.

No details of the selection process have been made public.

According to Commodore Bainimarama, there will be no vice-president.

Ratu Epeli was appointed the Vice President by the interim regime following the abrogation of the 1997 constitution last April.

He replaced Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as vice president after his removal in the 2006 military coup.

In 2007, the Great Council of Chiefs, which is the appointing body according to the constitution, rejected Ratu Epeli's nomination to be vice-president.

As a result, the interim regime suspended further GCC meetings and withdrew the resources of the GCC secretariat.