16 Nov 2002

Fiji chiefs seek legislative powers similar to those of parliament

9:10 am on 16 November 2002

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs is seeking legislative powers similar to those of parliament.

Fiji TV reports that the decision is in line with the council's move to become autonomous and financially independent of the government.

The acquisition of legislative powers will be pursued as part of the review of the Fijian Administration - a separate arm of the government for indigenous Fijians only.

At present the Great Council of Chiefs is mainly an advisory body to the government but it appoints the president and the vice president as well as indigenous senators who have veto powers in the upper house of parliament.

And in another move, the council has rejected a request from Fiji TV to endorse its application to have its monopoly status extended for ten years.

The council chair, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says this is an issue for the government to decide.