10 Aug 2004

Fiji lawyer says constitution does not allow automatic removal of vice-president

3:42 pm on 10 August 2004

A Fiji lawyer says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, could act to begin the removal of the vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, if he wanted to.

Richard Naidu says the constitution has no provision for the automatic removal from office of Seniloli, who's been sentenced to four years jail over his involvement in the 2000 coup.

And, Seniloli hasn't offered to resign as vice-president because he's appealing his conviction.

But, Mr Naidu says the constitution does provide grounds for him to be dumped.

"There is a provision in the constitution to remove him for misbehaviour, and that requires the prime minister to act. If the prime minister considers that the question of removing the president or the vice-president ought to be investigated, then he must request the chief justice to establish a tribunal. And, that tribunal must establish whether or not a misbehaviour has occurred which would warrant removal."

Fiji lawyer, Richard Naidu.