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Ratu Mara Resigns

Issue No: 309 21 December 2000

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, the substantive President of Fiji, has officially resigned. According to reports, his resignation is effective 29 May 2000.

Mara had been asked by the military to step aside on 29 May for the military to take charge of the affairs of the nation. He was evacuated from his residence to a navy boat and taken to Lakeba, his traditional home.

In November, the High Court ruled that Mara was still the legitimate President of the country. The Court also declared that "the Parliament should be summoned by the President at his discretion but as soon as practicable."

Many were expecting the President to wait until the Court of Appeal ruled on the regime's appeal on the Gates' declaration. The appeal is scheduled for hearing in February next year.

The resignation now throws open the question of who is the legitimate President of the nation. Dr. Tupeni Baba of the People's Coalition Government states that Ratu Josefa Iloilo is now the legitimate Acting President and as such he should now summon the Parliament and give force to Justice Gates' decision.

Meanwhile the regime has stated that the Cabinet has approved Ratu Mara's pension. Cabinet Secretary, Jioji Kotobalavu, speaking on Fiji TV news last night, said that the resignation letter was delivered to the PM's office.

END 21 December 2000


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