World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Fiji critics talk of ‘constitutional coup’ by Bainimarama

VIDEO: Bainimarama talks policy to Al Jazeera as Fiji critics talk of ‘constitutional coup’

by Andrew Thomas | Suva
April 8, 2013

http://www.pmc.aut.ac.nz/pacific-media-watch/video-bainimarama-talks-policy-al-jazeera-fiji-critics-talk-constitutional-coup-

Journalist Andrew Thomas with Fiji regime Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Video: Al Jazeera English

Fijians are weighing up a controversial new draft constitution aimed at restoring democracy in the South Pacific nation for next year.

But there are concerns that the document could be used by the current military ruler Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to maintain his hold on power.

Critics say that what Bainimarama is doing amounts to a “constitutional coup”.

After his return to his Sydney base, Thomas commented on his Al Jazeera blog:

Last month, the country’s unelected military ruler scrapped a constitution, written by a respected independent expert, in favour of one drawn up by his government.

Many in Fiji and elsewhere fear the government-sanctioned charter will merely provide cover for ongoing autocratic rule.

Fiji’s so-far unelected prime minister, of course, denies this. When I met Commodore Frank Bainimarama last Thursday (making it two PMs in one week!), he told me he was committed to holding free and fair elections late next year.

On their own, though, elections don’t mean democracy. There has to be a level playing field going into them; the dice can’t be weighted in one candidate’s favour.

That’s what good constitutions ensure. They level playing fields and make sure the dice aren’t dodgy.

At the Sydney lunch, [Australian Prime Minister Julia] Gillard gave the stock response about Fiji, without referring directly to concerns over the latest incarnation of the constitution.

She said: “Commodore Bainimarama needs to be held to his promises and accountabilities about having those elections, and they need to be held on time and properly done.”

Few now doubt Bainimarama is indeed committed to the first part, that elections are held “on time”. But, without the second part as well, elections “properly done”, Fiji may be a democracy in name only.

Constitutional clauses can sometimes be dry, but they can also be crucial.

Fiji debates disputed draft constitution

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news