7 Dec 2006

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs urges military not to move against President Iloilo

10:00 am on 7 December 2006

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has urged the military not to move against President Ratu Josefa Iloilo as the military is trying to legitimise this week's overthrow of the government.

There is concern that the new regime may remove Ratu Josefa after Government House issued a statement which failed to approve the military take-over.

The military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says he seized executive power from Ratu Josefa, invoking the Doctrine of Necessity.

He claimed that Ratu Josefa was under undue pressure from the vice-president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, who was removed from office last night.

Ratu Joni was then removed from his residence.

The head of the Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, has told Radio Legend that this is illegal.

"Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi is a fine Chief and highly respected member of the legal profession, a former High Court Judge who is legally and unanimously appointed by the Chiefs. Ratu Joni's removal from office is illegal and unconstitutional and disrespectful."