17 Feb 2006

Reports there's a push to restore Ratu Jope Seniloli at Fiji's vice president

4:16 pm on 17 February 2006

A report from Fiji says there will be a big push at next month's Great Council of Chiefs meeting to bring back Ratu Jope Seniloli as vice president.

Ratu Jope was forced to resign from the vice presidency in 2004 after he was jailed for four years for trying to usurp the presidency from Ratu Mara during the Speight coup.

But he was released from prison soon after under a Compulsory Supervision Order issued by the minister for justice and attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

Radio Legend says some chiefs from George Speight's Tailevu province have indicated that Ratu Jope should be allowed to return to complete a full term as vice president as he did not finish his previous term when he was jailed.

The current vice president Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi is also in the running to retain his office.

Meanwhile, the military has told Fiji TV that it is aware that a prominent chief convicted of coup related offences will be nominated for the vice presidency.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says it would be difficult for them to accept a convict as president and their commander in chief.

He says the military cannot afford to jeopardise the future of the country by appeasing some groups.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says in addition to defence and security, the constitutional role of the military is to look after the well-being of Fiji and its people.