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Banker Qarase Tipped As Military's Choice For PM

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By Tamani Nair
© USP Journalism Programme

SUVA: Former Fiji Development Bank chairman Laisenia Qarase is the military's choice for the Interim Prime Minister of the appointed civilian administration in the Fiji Islands.

The banker was listed today in a line-up of candidates the military was considering for appointment to an interim civilian government.

According to a Radio Fiji report, these were the additional names listed:

Home Affairs: Former ambassador and military commander Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Fijian Affairs: Former Corpus Christi principal Ro Temumu Kepa. Tourism: Agriculture Land Tenure Act (ALTA) Resettlement Unit permanent secretary Luke Ratuvuki. Labour and Industrial Relations: Director of Fiji National Training Council director Nelson Delailomaloma. Finance and National Planning: Former Reserve Bank Governor Ratu Jone Kubuabola. Health: Banker Tom Vuetilavoni Youth and Sports: Assistant national rugby coach Ilaitia Tuisese. Foreign Affairs: Former ammbassador to Brussels Kaliopate Tavola Housing: John Teiawa Attorney-General: Alipate Qetaki Regional Development: Fatiaki Misau

Also included in the line-up are two Indo-Fijians. They are:

Education: President of the Fiji chapter of Transparency International, Ikbal Jannif. Trade and Commerce: Thomas Raju.

According to the Radio Fiji report, the military seemed to be trying to do its provincial balancing act apart from the inclusion of the two Indo-Fijians.

Foreign media had quoted coup leader George Speight as saying that he would accept ethnic Indians in the cabinet line-up despite earlier opposition to including non-indigenous Fijians in cabinet.

His comments are in line with his understanding that the president would be including four non-indigenous people in the cabinet line-up.

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