29 Aug 2002

Fiji's chief justice says the state's appeal against an order to include the Labour Party in cabinet

10:28 am on 29 August 2002

Fiji's new chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki, says the composition of the cabinet case, which involves the state's appeal against an order to include the Labour Party in the government, is not urgent.

The Fiji times quotes Justice Fatiaki as saying the other 12 cases pending before the Supreme Court are just as important because they involve important civil and criminal matters which concern ordinary citizens.

The newspaper says Justice Fatiaki could not say how soon overseas judges for the new five-member Supreme Court would be assembled or how long it would take to hear the case.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has objected to the chief justice's comments about priorities, saying the composition of cabinet case is more important because it is a constitutional matter on which Fiji's future depends.

The leader of the United General Party, Mick Beddoes, says it is important to give preference to this case because the Qarase government is not operating in accordance with the constitution.

Filipe Bole of the new Fiji Democratic Party, says the judiciary should re-look at its priorities.

The Appeal Court ruled earlier this year that under the multi-party cabinet provisions of the constitution, the Labour Party was entitled to be part of the Qarase government