24 May 2008

Fiji interim PM says electoral system could be amended to by-pass GCC role

8:19 am on 24 May 2008

Amendments to Fiji's electoral system may include the election of the President and Vice President by the people, the one major role of the Great Council of Chiefs.

Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama indicated this possibility while speaking to villagers he visited this week.

The appointment of the President and Vice-President has always been made by the Great Council of Chiefs.

The Council was however suspended by Commodore Bainimarama last year.

There is a present court action challenging the suspension.

Growing opposition from Great Council of Chiefs' members and provincial councils to various regime initiatives, namely the Charter for Building a Better Fiji, support previous statements by Council members that they refuse to meet to appoint a president.

The Charter is a national plan to rebuild the country, presently being developed by the interim military regime.

The Interim Prime minister said if the next scheduled GCC meeting does not have the quorum, he would simply amend the electoral system to allow the people to vote for incumbents of the two offices.

He said unless the military government saw unity of the people and support for the Charter, there would be no general elections in March next year.