3 Dec 2004

Fiji military commander backs suggestions that next vice-president should be a non-indigenous

10:17 am on 3 December 2004

Fiji's military commander has backed suggestions that the next vice president should be a non-indigenous.

The Fiji Times quotes Commodore Frank Bainimarama as saying he supports the idea that some one with excellent leadership skills take up the post regardless of race.

Commodore Bainimarama says those against the idea of a non-Fijian appointment are only trying to instigate racial instability for their own selfish benefit.

Suggestions that a non-indigenous should succeed the convicted but prematurely released former holder of the office, Seniloli, have come from several prominent sources.

They include the former chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, the National Federation Party and the Fiji Labour Party.

The 1997 Constitutional commissioner and longtime former cabinet minister, Tomasi Vakatora, says anyone with an exemplary public service record could be vice president, but he does not think Fiji is ready for a non-Fijian.

He says Fiji must avoid another constitutional crisis.

President Iloilo will hold consultations today before making a nomination for the vice presidency.