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Fiji Media welcome court ruling

Fiji Media welcome court ruling

2 March 2001

USP Pacific Journalism Online:
USP Pasifik Nius:

Have your say:

Media Welcome Ruling As Regime Stalls

Full PJO coverage on the court ruling:
Judgement summary:

* See PN item 3242, 3241, 3240, 3238, 3237, 3235

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Fiji's three daily newspapers today cautiously
welcomed the historic Appeal Court ruling upholding the 1997 multiracial
constitution, but the illegal regime signalled that it would not
immediately resign.

In a front page editorial, the largest newspaper, The Fiji Times, said:
"The decision of the Appeals Court is positive for Fiji.

"Those who might be tempted to regard it as a backward step (and there
are a few who will seek to promote it as such) should wait while the
country allows the President [Ratu Josefa Iloilo] to do his job - as the
constitution provides."

The Sun said that in Fiji right now there was an underlying spirit of
good intention.

"The parties involved in the appeal decision have expressed their
willingness to obey the law as declared by the court," the paper said.

"This time there are no guns to anyone's heads forcing their decisions,
so this time the welfare of the nation should take immediate precedence,
not the resolving of a criminal conspiracy and kidnapping as in the

The Daily Post ran a two-sentence editorial: "The ball is in Fiji's
court. How we survive will depend on how we play it."

The interim regime indicated it would stay on in office until a
political solution was found to bring Fiji back to parliamentary
democracy based on the provisions of the 1997 constitution, the paper

The stay on move came after the Fiji Court of Appeal decision handed
down yesterday "left the country in a deeper political slumber than

"While the five judges ruled purely on the legality of the issue at
stake, it failed to give clear directions on how to resolve the current
political turmoil, leaving it to the leaders to find an amicable

However, in national broadcasts last night, both the President, Ratu
Josefa Iloilo, and interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase reassured the
nation that government would abide by the ruling of the court and that
the rule of law would be upheld.

At the same time, they appealed to the nation for calm and peace,
cooperation and for the people to tread cautiously as the leaders
continue to search for a political solution.

The Great Council of Chiefs will be convened on March 8 and Ratu Josefa
will brief the chiefs on the implications of the judgement.

Speaking from New Delhi, deposed elected Prime Minister Mahendra
Chaudhry was quoted by the Sun as saying he was ready to lead the
country again.

He said his administration was Fiji's legitimate government and he was
the country's legitimate prime minister.

Chaudhry said his government had been toppled by a "bunch of

"The 1997 constitution being upheld is good news for the country," he

"Justice has been done so why not? I am the legitimate PM and my
government the legitimate government after all. So, yes, we would like
to the lead the country again."

Deposed deputy Prime Minister Dr Tupeni Baba called on the Great Council
of Chiefs to respect the judgement.

"We as a party [Fiji Labour Party] will do all we can in ensuring that
constitutional democracy is restored and whatever attempt the
President's Office would like us to take to ensure the concerns and
interests of the indigenous community are addressed," Dr Baba said.

Welcoming the court ruling, second deputy prime minister Adi Kuini
Vuikaba Speed said she was excited that democracy was still recognised.

"We should continue to work for peace in a democractic society so the
citizens of Fiji can look forward to enjoying life here," she said.



© Scoop Media

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