12 Apr 2013

Fiji regime asks sidelined politicians to join constitution debate

3:10 pm on 12 April 2013

Fiji's prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has urged leaders of political parties to make submissions on the draft Constitution instead of criticising the document.

This comes after the regime dumped the draft constitution drawn up by its Constitution Commission last year and instead released a new draft document last month.

According to Fijilive, Commodore Bainimarama has told a radio talkback show it is the time for politicians to show leadership and be part of the constitutional process.

All parties were made to apply for re-registration by mid-February but none has been approved.

The regime also decreed that anyone purporting to speak on behalf of a party, which is not registered, risks imprisonment.

Last month, the regime dumped plans for a Constituent Assembly and said it would have a new constitution finalised by today, but now it says there is no date for its release.

The Commission received 7,000 submissions last year, but this week Commodore Bainimarama claimed it got 500,000 which were too many to be put into a constitution.