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Fiji's constitutional crisis

25 May 2000

Fiji's constitutional crisis

Prime Minister Helen Clark said tonight that the proposal which had come from Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs for resolving the crisis in Fiji appeared to be unconstitutional.

"The New Zealand government, and many other governments and international organisations, have stated that there can be no acceptance internationally of an outcome which defies constitutional processes.

"If what is reported tonight from the Great Council of Chiefs is correct, the council appears to be recommending drastic change to the Fijian constitution which would deny normal democratic rights to the minority Indian population.

"On the face of it the Great Council of Chiefs' proposal would require a rewrite of the present constitution through unconstitutional processes.

"It's also unacceptable to New Zealand that Mr George Speight should go unpunished for his treasonable actions.

"New Zealand views these developments with grave concern and is stating as clearly as it can that an outcome along the lines of that proposed by the chiefs would lose Fiji any respect in the international community.

"We call again for the immediate release of the hostages, the convening of the Parliament and for Fiji to work through its problems in accordance with the constitution that it freely entered into only three years ago," Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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