12 Apr 2007

Fiji chiefs reject President's nominee for vice-president

10:06 am on 12 April 2007

Representatives of two of the three traditional Fijian confederacies in the Great Council of Chiefs have rejected President Iloilo's nomination of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as the next vice president.

The president nominated Ratu Epeli because of his record of public service as a former Speaker of parliament, diplomat and military commander.

The Great Council of Chiefs had only to endorse the nomination.

But when the chiefs, some of whom were members of the deposed Qarase government and the previous administration, met for discussions only the Tovata confederacy supported Ratu Epeli's nomination.

The Burebasaga and Kubuna Confederacies opposed the nomination even though Ratu Epeli is from Kubuna.

The minister for Fijian affairs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau told Fiji TV that it was the president's prerogative to make the nomination and it was expected of the Great Council of Chiefs to endorse it.

The minister said disregarding the president's nomination is going to make it very difficult for some members because he has the powers to remove them from the Great Council .

The chiefs are expected to be reconvened when the president makes a fresh nomination for the vice presidency.