21 Jul 2004

Fiji Labour Party leader accuses PM and President of hypocrisy

10:28 am on 21 July 2004

The Fiji Labour Party leader has accused the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase and President Iloilo of being hypocrites in calling for respect for the rule of law.

Mahendra Chaudhry says the president will be remembered for the farce he enacted in March 2001 when he appointed Ratu Tevita Momoedonu prime minister for 24 hours to recommend the dissolution of his legitimate government.

Mr Chaudhry says in doing so the president acted in deliberate defiance of the constitution and ignored the decision of the Fiji Court of Appeal.

As well, Mr Chaudhry says the prime minister is deliberately sidestepping the constitution by keeping Labour out of government.

He says neither the president nor the prime minister have shown much respect for the law in their own political dealings in the past four years.

Mr Chaudhry says "leaders must rule by example and both the prime minister and the president must realise that they cannot take refuge in the rule of law when it suits their purpose and ignore it at whim when they want to."