28 Mar 2013

Fiji's Bainimarama says consultation on draft constitution may be extended

6:25 am on 28 March 2013

Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama says consultation on the regime's draft constitution may be extended.

He was responding to direct requests from radio talkback callers who said the two week timeframe the regime has given for discussion was too short.

One caller to Wednesday's show said there should be more time for debate and the document shouldn't be shoved down people's throats.

Another caller accused Commodore Bainimarama of having no mandate and there were queries about how the constitution was going to end all coups.

Commodore Bainimarama said coups had come about because of racism and his draft ensured equality for all.

The regime leader said the constitution would have the mandate of the people because they had been given the chance to comment.

He said a referendum on the draft was a good idea.

He urged people to continue giving their feedback and said if their ideas were good enough they would be included in the constitution.

He also said a lean, mean 45 seat parliament would cut costs and explained the draft's emphasis on people's rights.

But he refused to answer one caller who asked why the constitution amounted to the legalisation of certain human rights abuses.