20 Jan 2014

Fiji being tight-lipped on possible military replacement: Academic

7:30 am on 20 January 2014

An academic says the announcement that Fiji's Prime Minister will stand down as the head of the military in March is a significant step towards promised elections this year.

Dr Steven Ratuva, from the University of Auckland, says Frank Bainimarama's successor is likely to be announced as he steps down, and the regime is being tight-lipped on who that could be, although it is suspected they have someone in mind.

He says that the ultimate decision lies with the President on the advice of the Consititutional Offices Commission - which seems to be made up entirely of the Prime Minister.

"That's the dilema, while it talks about the leader of the opposition at the moment, there's no leader of the opposition. So really, the Prime Minister still has a really powerful voice in the process. So until we have a parliament, a democratic system in place, then the whole constitutional provision to do with the commission becomes unviable. At the moment, it's going to be simply half impemented as it were."

Dr Steven Ratuva from the University of Auckland.