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NEWSFLASH: Fiji- A Cabinet Or Military Council?

SUVA, The list for a new interim administration is being drawn up this morning - the latest army move to find a government acceptable to coup leader George Speight.

Last night Speight rejected two of the military’s suggestions for an interim Prime Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and and Ratu Epeli Ganilau because of their close family connections with former Fijian President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

That move was the latest in the army's attempt to appease Mr. Speight who has successfully had the country's President, Prime Minister and Cabinet sacked, dissolved the country's constitution and recieved offers of amnesty from prosecution should he release his thirty hostages.

Today, a Fijian army spokesman said the army was planning an non-political military council to run the country because of failed negotiations with Mr. Speight to find agreement on a political regime.

It is not yet clear whether Mr. Speight or his supporters will have any role in this administration, although in the negotiations of the last few days Mr. Speight had insisted that this be the case.

It is also unsure whether Mr. Speight has accepted the military’s proposal and negotiations are continuing with the military this morning.

Earlier Fijilive speculated about a possible political government - see the full transcript of the article below or go to www.fijilive.com.

Siwatibau on Govt shortlist

Former Reserve Bank Governor Savenaca Siwatibau is among a list of "independent" people accepted by coup leader George Speight's group to serve in a new interim administration for Fiji.

Our sources say other names decided upon include former Fiji Ambassador to the European Community Kaliopate Tavola; managing director of Merchant Bank of Fiji and a senator, Laisenia Qarase, and former Permanent Secretary Pita Nacuva. Siwatibau is currently head of the United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), based in Vanuatu.

He is believed to be coming to the end of his term and is on a shortlist for the position of vice-chancellor of the University of the South Pacific in Suva.

Qarase was a nominee of President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara for the Senate and is from Lau, but seems acceptable maybe because of his very public battles with the Chaudhry government.

Among names rejected are the two former army commanders, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Ratu Epeli Ganilau. Both are Mara's sons-in-law, and have probably been rejected for this reason.

Also rejected is former Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu, also seen as being close to Mara. Kotobalavu is currently secretary to the Education Commission.

Ro Teimumu Kepa, sister of Mara's wife, Adi Lady Lala, has also been rejected.

Commisioner of Police Isikia Savua's name was also mentioned last night, but it could not be established whether he was acceptable, with four Speight group supporters being detained by police two days ago.

The Speight group is still holding out for the inclusion in the new government of Ratu Timoci Silatolu, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, Speight, and a few others.

They seem dead against any appointments of people close to Mara. Earlier Speight's media adviser Jo Nata told the Sydney Morning Herald they want an influential role in the new interim government "in order to steer Fiji in the direction of indigenous Fijian supremacy".

Nata said the group does not want things to be derailed by people who have no commitment to the cause especially after putting their lives on the line and taking risks.


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