10 Oct 2007

Fiji people's council could help end coup culture, says NGO

8:25 pm on 10 October 2007

The Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, or ECREA in Fiji has welcomed the creation of a people's council to provide policy direction.

Fiji's president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has launched the interim administration's People's Charter for Change and Progress designed to move the country forward after the overthrow of the Qarase government.

A 40 member council will act as an advisor to the interim government, as there is no parliament in Fiji.

It will be co-chaired by the interim prime minister and the catholic archbishop, Petero Mataca, and have 26 members from non-governmental institutions acting as advisors.

ECREA's Semiti Qalowasa says the country must lose its coup-culture before it holds parliamentary elections.

Mr Qalowasa says a people's council could help achieve that.

"We are trying to move forward, which is the way to go. Eveybody should sit together and watch what the commander has done. It is a good thing, it is bringing in people of different background to discuss a way forward and that's the way to go to moving Fiji closer to democracy and making things faster."

Semiti Qalowasa believes there is no better person than the interim prime minister to co-chair the council.