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

 

Newly-Detected Bird Flu In Southeast Asia

Newly-Detected Bird Flu in Southeast Asia Poses Threat to Animal Health, People’s Livelihoods More>>

UN: Accountability For Israel Vital For Peace

A young girl walks through a severely damaged street in Gaza. Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba More>>

Afghanistan: UN Welcomes Conclusion Of Presidential Election

Pictured left to right: Jan Kubis, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, and presidential candidates Dr.Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA More>>

ALSO:

UN Rights Chief: Sinking Of Mediterranean Migrant Boat Amounts To Mass Murder

Syrian refugees are rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, but others are not so fortunate. Photo: UNHCR/A. D'Amato More>>


UN Mission: Advance Team For Ebola Response Arrives In West Africa

These children in Kailahun district, Sierra Leone, survived Ebola but lost parents to the deadly virus. Photo: UNICEF/Jo Dunlop More>>

UN: Leonardo Dicaprio New UN Messenger Of Peace

Pictured left to right: United Nations Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten More>>

UN: 'Shocked And Saddened' By Vaccination Deaths In Syria

A Syrian boy gets his measles jab in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Photo: UNICEF/Jordan-2013/ Alaa Malhas More>>

UN: Announces Mission To Combat Ebola

Ebola outbreak: a peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) wears a protective mask while on duty at UN offices in the capital city of Monrovia. UN Photo/Andrey Tsarkov More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news