13 Apr 2007

Ousted Fiji PM questions military's suspension of GCC

3:58 pm on 13 April 2007

Fiji's deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has questioned the authority of the interim Prime Minister in suspending the Great Council of Chiefs.

As well as the suspension, Commodore Frank Bainimarama has indicated that all government resources within the GCC secretariat will be redirected to his administration.

This follows Wednesday's rejection by the GCC of President Iloilo's nomination of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to be the next vice president.

But Mr Qarase says the GCC has the authority to reject the nomination if it wishes.

He says the Commodore's plans for a review of the GCC indicate he wants to change the rules regarding the appointment of people to the Council.

Mr Qarase told Radio Tarana the move will alienate public support for the government.

"The GCC is viewed by an overwhelming majority of the people here in Fiji as an institution that has to be respected and whose decision is, generally speaking, always wise and sound. It is a key institution, particularly during times such as the period we are going through now."

Laisenia Qarase