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Attempted Dismissal Of PM Is Unconstitutional

Issue No: 588 15 March 2001

The attempt by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo to dismiss the elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry is unconstitutional.

In a media statement made shortly after receiving a letter from the Acting President purportedly dismissing him from the Prime Ministership of the country, Chaudhry stated:

"I was notified this afternoon of my purported dismissal as Prime Minister from today 14 March, through a letter signed by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo."

"It is clear from Ratu Josefa's letter that his decision to dismiss me is premised on his incorrect assumption, deliberate or otherwise, that I had accepted I no longer enjoyed the confidence of the House because I had offered to advise him to dissolve the House of Representatives so as to make way for fresh elections to resolve the political impasse facing the nation."

"The Acting President wrote: "Therefore, acting in my own judgement under Section 109(1) of the 1997 Constitution . I hereby notify you that I have decided to dismiss you from your appointment as Prime Minister of Fiji with effect from 14 March, 2001"."

"I have consulted my legal counsel on my purported dismissal and have been advised that the Acting President's decision is badly advised and unlawful."

"It is correct I had conveyed to His Excellency that I was prepared to advise a dissolution of Parliament. I had done this in order to assist him find a way out of the constitutional difficulties confronting him. My offer of assistance was made in good faith and with a view to helping him find a solution to the nation's problems which was within the law."

"But it takes a considerable leap of logic for the Acting President to now conclude that this advice means I do not believe I have the confidence of the House of Representatives. The best way to ascertain this is to summon the House of Representatives. Why is it that those who advise the Acting President are unwilling to consider testing this option on the floor of the House?"

"I had not advised the Acting President that I had lost the confidence of the House of Representatives. Section 109(1) of the Constitution - the section under which he purports to act - says as follows:

109..-(1) The President may not dismiss a Prime Minister unless the Government fails to get or loses the confidence of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not resign or get a dissolution of the Parliament."

"The necessary conditions under which the Acting President may act under s.109(1) simply do not exist. I am frankly astounded that his advisers believe otherwise."

"I urge His Excellency to reconsider his decision. At this time, it is vital for him to demonstrate to the nation the importance of governing within the law to enhance confidence in our country's ability to be so governed."

"I have written to the Acting President advising him to reconsider his decision."

"The purported appointment of Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as prime minister is unconstitutional and unlawful because firstly, I have not vacated the office of prime minister. Secondly, Ratu Tevita has not been nominated by the People's Coalition nor has his entitlement to the position been tested on the floor of the House of Representatives."

END 15 March 2001

Attempted dismissal of PM is unconstitutional Issue No: 588 15 March 2001

The attempt by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo to dismiss the elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry is unconstitutional.

In a media statement made shortly after receiving a letter from the Acting President purportedly dismissing him from the Prime Ministership of the country, Chaudhry stated:

"I was notified this afternoon of my purported dismissal as Prime Minister from today 14 March, through a letter signed by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo."

"It is clear from Ratu Josefa's letter that his decision to dismiss me is premised on his incorrect assumption, deliberate or otherwise, that I had accepted I no longer enjoyed the confidence of the House because I had offered to advise him to dissolve the House of Representatives so as to make way for fresh elections to resolve the political impasse facing the nation."

"The Acting President wrote: "Therefore, acting in my own judgement under Section 109(1) of the 1997 Constitution . I hereby notify you that I have decided to dismiss you from your appointment as Prime Minister of Fiji with effect from 14 March, 2001"."

"I have consulted my legal counsel on my purported dismissal and have been advised that the Acting President's decision is badly advised and unlawful."

"It is correct I had conveyed to His Excellency that I was prepared to advise a dissolution of Parliament. I had done this in order to assist him find a way out of the constitutional difficulties confronting him. My offer of assistance was made in good faith and with a view to helping him find a solution to the nation's problems which was within the law."

"But it takes a considerable leap of logic for the Acting President to now conclude that this advice means I do not believe I have the confidence of the House of Representatives. The best way to ascertain this is to summon the House of Representatives. Why is it that those who advise the Acting President are unwilling to consider testing this option on the floor of the House?"

"I had not advised the Acting President that I had lost the confidence of the House of Representatives. Section 109(1) of the Constitution - the section under which he purports to act - says as follows:

109..-(1) The President may not dismiss a Prime Minister unless the Government fails to get or loses the confidence of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not resign or get a dissolution of the Parliament."

"The necessary conditions under which the Acting President may act under s.109(1) simply do not exist. I am frankly astounded that his advisers believe otherwise."

"I urge His Excellency to reconsider his decision. At this time, it is vital for him to demonstrate to the nation the importance of governing within the law to enhance confidence in our country's ability to be so governed."

"I have written to the Acting President advising him to reconsider his decision."

"The purported appointment of Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as prime minister is unconstitutional and unlawful because firstly, I have not vacated the office of prime minister. Secondly, Ratu Tevita has not been nominated by the People's Coalition nor has his entitlement to the position been tested on the floor of the House of Representatives."

END 15 March 2001

Attempted dismissal of PM is unconstitutional Issue No: 588 15 March 2001

The attempt by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo to dismiss the elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry is unconstitutional.

In a media statement made shortly after receiving a letter from the Acting President purportedly dismissing him from the Prime Ministership of the country, Chaudhry stated:

"I was notified this afternoon of my purported dismissal as Prime Minister from today 14 March, through a letter signed by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo."

"It is clear from Ratu Josefa's letter that his decision to dismiss me is premised on his incorrect assumption, deliberate or otherwise, that I had accepted I no longer enjoyed the confidence of the House because I had offered to advise him to dissolve the House of Representatives so as to make way for fresh elections to resolve the political impasse facing the nation."

"The Acting President wrote: "Therefore, acting in my own judgement under Section 109(1) of the 1997 Constitution . I hereby notify you that I have decided to dismiss you from your appointment as Prime Minister of Fiji with effect from 14 March, 2001"."

"I have consulted my legal counsel on my purported dismissal and have been advised that the Acting President's decision is badly advised and unlawful."

"It is correct I had conveyed to His Excellency that I was prepared to advise a dissolution of Parliament. I had done this in order to assist him find a way out of the constitutional difficulties confronting him. My offer of assistance was made in good faith and with a view to helping him find a solution to the nation's problems which was within the law."

"But it takes a considerable leap of logic for the Acting President to now conclude that this advice means I do not believe I have the confidence of the House of Representatives. The best way to ascertain this is to summon the House of Representatives. Why is it that those who advise the Acting President are unwilling to consider testing this option on the floor of the House?"

"I had not advised the Acting President that I had lost the confidence of the House of Representatives. Section 109(1) of the Constitution - the section under which he purports to act - says as follows:

109..-(1) The President may not dismiss a Prime Minister unless the Government fails to get or loses the confidence of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not resign or get a dissolution of the Parliament."

"The necessary conditions under which the Acting President may act under s.109(1) simply do not exist. I am frankly astounded that his advisers believe otherwise."

"I urge His Excellency to reconsider his decision. At this time, it is vital for him to demonstrate to the nation the importance of governing within the law to enhance confidence in our country's ability to be so governed."

"I have written to the Acting President advising him to reconsider his decision."

"The purported appointment of Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as prime minister is unconstitutional and unlawful because firstly, I have not vacated the office of prime minister. Secondly, Ratu Tevita has not been nominated by the People's Coalition nor has his entitlement to the position been tested on the floor of the House of Representatives."

END 15 March 2001

Attempted dismissal of PM is unconstitutional Issue No: 588 15 March 2001

The attempt by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo to dismiss the elected Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry is unconstitutional.

In a media statement made shortly after receiving a letter from the Acting President purportedly dismissing him from the Prime Ministership of the country, Chaudhry stated:

"I was notified this afternoon of my purported dismissal as Prime Minister from today 14 March, through a letter signed by the Acting President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo."

"It is clear from Ratu Josefa's letter that his decision to dismiss me is premised on his incorrect assumption, deliberate or otherwise, that I had accepted I no longer enjoyed the confidence of the House because I had offered to advise him to dissolve the House of Representatives so as to make way for fresh elections to resolve the political impasse facing the nation."

"The Acting President wrote: "Therefore, acting in my own judgement under Section 109(1) of the 1997 Constitution . I hereby notify you that I have decided to dismiss you from your appointment as Prime Minister of Fiji with effect from 14 March, 2001"."

"I have consulted my legal counsel on my purported dismissal and have been advised that the Acting President's decision is badly advised and unlawful."

"It is correct I had conveyed to His Excellency that I was prepared to advise a dissolution of Parliament. I had done this in order to assist him find a way out of the constitutional difficulties confronting him. My offer of assistance was made in good faith and with a view to helping him find a solution to the nation's problems which was within the law."

"But it takes a considerable leap of logic for the Acting President to now conclude that this advice means I do not believe I have the confidence of the House of Representatives. The best way to ascertain this is to summon the House of Representatives. Why is it that those who advise the Acting President are unwilling to consider testing this option on the floor of the House?"

"I had not advised the Acting President that I had lost the confidence of the House of Representatives. Section 109(1) of the Constitution - the section under which he purports to act - says as follows:

109..-(1) The President may not dismiss a Prime Minister unless the Government fails to get or loses the confidence of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister does not resign or get a dissolution of the Parliament."

"The necessary conditions under which the Acting President may act under s.109(1) simply do not exist. I am frankly astounded that his advisers believe otherwise."

"I urge His Excellency to reconsider his decision. At this time, it is vital for him to demonstrate to the nation the importance of governing within the law to enhance confidence in our country's ability to be so governed."

"I have written to the Acting President advising him to reconsider his decision."

"The purported appointment of Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as prime minister is unconstitutional and unlawful because firstly, I have not vacated the office of prime minister. Secondly, Ratu Tevita has not been nominated by the People's Coalition nor has his entitlement to the position been tested on the floor of the House of Representatives."

END 15 March 2001


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