7 Oct 2013

Hope despite flaws in Fiji's constitution says ex vice president

3:01 pm on 7 October 2013

A former vice president of Fiji, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, says the constitution, despite its flaws, brings potential for change in Fiji and the government may not be able to control the momentum which results.

The constitution was drafted by the government and came into force last month after the regime discarded the original document produced by the Constitution Commission.

Ratu Joni says it was inspiring how last year's constitutional review created space for dialogue and he says there's cautious expectation a similar scenario will develop as the elections draw closer

Ratu Joni, who was dismissed from office during the 2006 coup, says constitutional legality is crystalising even though it is happening in a piecemeal way.

But Ratu Joni says the constitution contains some disturbing provisions such as those for immunity for military leaders and the extensive power given the prime minister and attorney general.

He says the document's expansive bill of rights and non racial electoral system, though, are progressive.