19 Oct 2006

Fiji's opposition says the military needs to follow due process

8:19 pm on 19 October 2006

Fiji's Opposition says the country won't progress until the stoush between the government and the military is resolved.

The Opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, made the comment following alleged threats by the military commander to overthrow the government unless it withdraws controversial legislation.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama's reported plans concern the Qoliqoli Bill, which would transfer legal ownership of all foreshore areas to their traditional indigenous owners.

He's also against the Reconciliation and Unity Bill, which could see coup convicts walk free.

Mr Beddoes says that while he agrees with the army's opposition to the bills, they need to follow due process.

"I don't disagree with the military's stand on these bills. I think these bills serve no purpose other than to antagonise and divide the people. But I'm certainly of the opinion that there is democratic mechanism in place for us to follow to defeat these bills."

He believes the upcoming Supreme Court case over the military's role in the country is unlikely to resolve anything.