11 Jun 2007

Fiji's ousted vice president says interim regime has limited support among Fijians

10:34 am on 11 June 2007

Fiji's ousted vice president says the interim administration formed after the military takeover has limited support among indigenous Fijians.

He also says the administration is perceived by many in the Fijian heartland as the handmaiden of the interim finance minister and Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi made the remarks at a workshop about the Fiji Coup Six Months On at the Australian National University in Canberra.

He said many Fijians are convinced this was an Indo-Fijian coup, while others think it was a Muslim coup because of its association with some prominent Muslims.

Ratu Joni said these perceptions, even if mistaken, pass for reality when conclusions are drawn.

He said irrespective of how electoral boundaries are drawn, it is likely that a Fijian dominated political party will form the next elected government.

Ratu Joni asked what the Commander and his fellow travellers do then?

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says the statement is playing on the emotions of indigenous Fijians and is trying to create the impression that the interim administration and its clean-up campaign is going against Fijians.

Major Leweni says once the corruption allegations come out into the open, they will show the reasons why the clean-up campaign took place.

Mr Chaudhry says Ratu Joni is just trying to incite racial hatred with such remarks.