28 May 2003

Fiji government to introduce proposed amendments to the constitution

3:46 pm on 28 May 2003

The Fiji government is to introduce amendments to the constitution in the new session of parliament.

The attorney general, Qoroniasi Bale, says he won't give details yet but the government will present the amendments in parliament first before any consideration is given to introducing a referendum to change the constitution.

The Labour party is fiercely opposed to a referendum and says the government should obtain the two-thirds majority required in parliament to amend the constitution.

Mr Bale says the referendum is a proposal only and the government will follow due process.

"Ideally any responsible government would like to see demands in accordance with requirements of the constitution and there is no question of whether we want or do not want to use the referendum system because it's not even there."

Mr Bale says the proposal for a referendum came about because of concerns that politicians might not be able to reach agreement even on non-controversial changes to the constitution.