15 Dec 2004

Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi appointed Vice-President of Fiji

6:33 pm on 15 December 2004

The Bau high chief and former High Court Judge, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, is the new vice president of Fiji.

The Great Council of Chiefs voted unanimously in favour of Ratu Joni after President Iloilo proposed his name despite some earlier opposition.

Ratu Joni is the nephew of the esteemed Fijian chief, the late Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, and holds the title of Roko Tui Bau.

Ratu Joni succeeds Ratu Jope Seniloli who was jailed for four years for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president during the coup and resigned on his premature release by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

He will serve the remainder of Seniloli's term, which expires in 2006.

Ratu Joni will take up his position at the end of January after completing legal work he is currently engaged in.

Both the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the opposition leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, have welcomed Ratu Joni's appointment.

Mr Chaudhry says Ratu Joni has given outstanding public service, is well liked by people of all races and will restore the dignity of the office of vice president.