6 Dec 2006

Fiji chiefs defy new regime and reaffirm support for President Iloilo

8:31 pm on 6 December 2006

Fiji's highest traditional body, the Great Council of Chiefs, has refused to recognize the military's seizure of executive authority in the country.

The chairman, of the Council, Ratu Ovini Bokini, says they only recognize Ratu Josefa Iloilo as the president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as the vice president and Laisenia Qarase as the legitimate prime minister.

Ratu Ovini has told Fiji TV the Great Council of Chiefs remains undeterred in its commitment to upholding the rule of law.

He says Ratu Josefa Iloilo has assured him that he is still the president of Fiji .

Ratu Ovini has made a public plea to the military commander to come to the negotiating table so they can arrive at a lawful and peaceful solution to the grievances that have been burdening Commodore Bainimarama for a long time.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Kadavu Provincial Council, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, says people must recognize that the government has changed.

He says they must not challenge the military or take advantage of the situation.

Ratu Josateki says the coup has happened and the rule of law has been usurped, but they cannot turn the clock back.