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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The French Election Result

Macron is shaping as the third major test case, after Bill Clinton, after Tony Blair – on whether the aim of ‘progressive social policy’ and realities of ‘neo-liberal economic settings’ can be made to credibly co-exist within the same sentence, let alone within the decrees from the Elysee Palace. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Snap Election In Britain

The election call is entirely opportunistic and self-serving and will – regardless of the outcome – put Britain in a worse negotiating position for managing its Brexit. More>>

Turkey: Observers Say Erdogan’s Constitutional Referendum Flawed

Lack of equal opportunities, one-sided media coverage and limitations on fundamental freedoms created unlevel playing field in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, international observers say. More>>

ALSO:

Westminster: NZ PM Condemns London Attack

“London is a place many thousands of New Zealanders have visited and called home, and where many more have friends and family based, so this attack feels very close to home,” Mr English says. More>>

ALSO:

Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news