9 Sep 2004

GCC decision to sit on vice-presidency issue supported by Fiji MP

4:26 pm on 9 September 2004

Fiji MP Samisoni Tikonisau of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party says he supports the great Council of Chiefs' decision to take no action on the position of the jailed vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Instead, an emergency meeting of chiefs agreed to await the outcome of Seniloli's appeal against his sentence which will be heard on November the second.

The decision was taken after the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, briefed the chiefs, including on the possibility of legal action against them if certain options were considered.

Mr Tikonisau, who is a member of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance, says it's only right that Seniloli be given the benefit of exhausting his legal rights before any decision is made on whether to replace him.

"From a Fiji perspective we want to see Ratu Jope released and we want him to resume his role as vice-president. We always hold the view that he was appointed after the fact, and the political situation in Fiji in 2000, you know, we've come through that, but western law is such that it doesn't recognise the these traditional obligations in a court of law. And the Chiefs in their deliberation yesterday would have been made aware of these facts, in fact they are very aware of Fijian protocols."

Fiji MP Samisoni Tikonisau