1 May 2006

Fiji's military commander warns over threats of insurrection

8:03 am on 1 May 2006

Fiji's military commander has warned that the army is ready to take on any political party threatening insurrection or instability if a non-indigenous person is elected prime minister in the general elections which begin on Saturday.

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, said last week that he could not guarantee there would not be another coup if the Labour Party forms the next government while nationalists have also said they will not accept a non-indigenous prime minister.

But Commodore Frank Bainimarama says anyone talking instability should be ready for the consequences because this time the army will be very serious about protecting Fiji and its people.

He says he wants to tell rural people not to vote for those who tell lies because the same lies led their becoming involved in the May 2000 coup.

Commodore Bainimarama says the constitution allows anyone to become prime minister and politicians should not lie to the people by telling them they will lose if a non-indigenous is elected to the job.

He says army intelligence is monitoring what politicians are doing and the army will be on full alert and ready to tackle anything.

Meanwhile, Fiji TV says police have executed a search warrant at their premises to locate tapes of what Mr Qarase said following a complaint by the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity.