Draft Fiji Constitution is a “constitutional coup”

Fijians are weighing up a controversial new draft constitution aimed at restoring democracy next year.

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”.

In an interview on El Jazeera Bainimarama denies this. He says he is  committed to holding free and fair elections late next year.

Earlier he stated that everyone should make their own decisions regarding the draft Constitution and they are free to make any submissions they like.

He also said all submissions will be considered but that only the best one that will help the country move forward will be taken on board.

A civil society group, Citizen’s Constitutional Forum, says the draft constitution concentrates power dangerously in the offices of Prime Minister and Attorney General.

The CCF’s head, Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says the power that the latest draft vests in the Prime Minister and Attorney-General is unprecedented in most modern democratic constitutions.

“The draft is reflecting what actually is taking place at the moment unfortunately and not what should be taking place in future. They control nearly all appointments to the judiciary and independent commisions.”



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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