11 Apr 2007

Fiji chiefs yet to endorse Nailatikau as vice president

6:20 pm on 11 April 2007

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs was unable to agree on President Iloilo's nomination of a vice president today and has deferred discussion on the issue until tomorrow.

President Iloilo had nominated the interim foreign affairs minister and former military commander and diplomat, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, to fill the position of vice president because of his distinguished record of public service.

Radio Legend says sources within the chiefs' meeting have confirmed that there are differences of opinion on the nomination among the representatives of the three traditional confederacies of Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata.

President Iloilo's nomination has to be endorsed by the Great Council because according to the constitution, it is the appointing authority for the president and the vice president.

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, had earlier urged the chiefs to endorse the president's nomination as a sign of unity

The chiefs will meet again tomorrow for further discussions on the vice presidency which was left vacant when Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi resigned after the December military takeover.

The head of the Burebasaga Confederacy and minister of education in the deposed government, Ro Teimumu Kepa, was not invited to attend the meeting because she was not a member of the Great Council.

But she attended as one of the three representatives in the Great Council from Rewa province.