27 Jul 2004

Ousted head of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs could be made senator

6:37 am on 27 July 2004

There is strong speculation in Fiji that the ousted chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs may be appointed to the Senate.

Radio Fiji quotes Ratu Epeli Ganilau as saying that although he has heard about the issue, he cannot comment because no formal offer has been made yet.

Radio Fiji says it understands the Fiji Labour Party will nominate Ratu Epeli to fill a senate vacancy created by the death of a party stalwart, Joeli Kalou.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the party's caucus meeting yesterday did not discuss a senate nominee and declined to comment further on the issue.

Ratu Epeli was ousted from the chair of the Great Council of Chiefs by Laisenia Qarase last week because of his public criticism of government policies seen as racist.

Ratu Epeli was appointed a member of the Great Council of Chiefs on the nomination of the minister for Fijian affairs in the deposed Chaudhry government, Adi Kuini Speed.