29 Sep 2003

Rabuka says Chaudhry must be restored as Prime Minister

4:29 pm on 29 September 2003

The one time Fiji coup leader and former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka has called for the deposed PM Mahendra Chaudhry to be restored to office.

Mr Chaudhry, Fiji's first ethnic Indian leader, was overthrown in a coup in May 2000.

Mr Rabuka says he is circulating a pamphlet entitled "The need for reconciliation" saying no progress had been made since the 2000 coup.

The coup had seen the installation of caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase by the military.

A general election later confirmed the arrangement.

Mr Rabuka says there needs to be reconciliation between the majority indigenous population and Indians, who make up around 44 per cent of the 840,000 people.

He says the process must include the recognition of Mr Chaudhry as the rightful prime minister and his cabinet as the rightful executive body.

Mr Rabuka says there also needs to be a general acknowledgement by all the people of Fiji that some have been grossly wronged.

He says there is a real need for reconciliation because many wrong options were taken and so many were unnecessarily hurt.