21 Dec 2006

Fiji chief says Great Council must acknowledge reality of military takeover

10:28 am on 21 December 2006

A former chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has urged the chiefs to accept the military takeover of the country, saying that is the fastest way to restore democracy.

Ratu Epeli's call has been reported by the Fiji Times online as the chiefs prepare to meet for the second day today to find a resolution to the current crisis.

He says the chiefs should endorse the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama's plans for an interim government.

Ratu Epeli, who was the previous military commander, says the chiefs run the risk of being sidelined if they reject Commodore Bainimarama's plan.

He says maintaining a stance whereby the chiefs still recognize the deposed government is unrealistic.

Ratu Epeli says the Great Council of Chiefs has failed to accept that the military is calling the shots.

He says he does not support the way a democratically elected government was ousted, but he supports the military campaign to clean up high level corruption that is going on now.

Commodore Bainimarama warned earlier this week that if the chiefs fail to re-appoint Ratu Josefa Iloilo as the president, the military could rule Fiji for the next 50 years.