12 Dec 2012

Fiji academic says constitution proposals could change Fiji's political culture

4:05 pm on 12 December 2012

A member of the 1997 Fiji Constitution Review Commission says recommendations for the new constitution have the potential to change the political culture of Fiji.

Leaked proposals of the present Constitution Commission include changes to the voting system, a unicameral legislature, and a President elected by a new institution of civil society groups and key political leaders.

The Australian National University's Brij Lal says having no senate makes sense in present day Fiji but he says the proposed voting method involving party lists would place enormous power in the hands of political parties.

He also has reservations about the proposed Assembly of Fiji which would elect the President and have a say in major issues.

"The fear I have is that you are creating a rival body to the parliament. It seems to me that it is the parliament which should deliberate on these things, make policy, listen to people and so on."

Professor Brij Lal says the proposal to limit the prime minister to two terms would help prevent a stranglehold on power.