30 Oct 2009

Questions remain about appointment process of Fiji president

6:55 am on 30 October 2009

A leading academic on Fiji says he wonders whether the appointment of the country's new president went through Cabinet at all.

Fiji's former military commander and parliamentary speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has been confirmed as the country's new president, three months after the retirement of Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

A spokesman for the interim regime has confirmed that Ratu Epeli was appointed earlier this week, but is yet to be sworn in.

The appointment has had no official announcement in Fiji, except for the interim Prime Minister speaking to one local newspaper.

Dr Jonathan Fraenkel says the interim regime is operating outside the constitution.

"In the provisions of the 1997 constitution it would have been the Great Council of Chiefs that would advise on this, but the Great Council of Chiefs, has allegedly been disbanded, so there are no formal procedures for the appointment of the president. It'll be interesting to know whether that process actually went through Cabinet at all."

Dr Jonathan Fraenkel.