16 Dec 2004

Fiji military welcomes new vice-presidential appointment

11:23 am on 16 December 2004

Fiji's military has welcomed the appointment of Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as the country's next vice president.

Ratu Joni is a high chief of Bau and former High Court judge who is held in high respect by people of all races in Fiji.

The miltary commander, Commodore Bainimarama, said through his spokesman that Ratu Joni is a man of high integrity and a great sense of fairness.

He said Ratu Joni will play an essential role in restoring national unity and his appointment augers well for people of all races.

The military had insisted that the next vice president should not come from people involved in the coup or be a criminal, because the appointee could become the next president and therefore the military's commander-in-chief.

The former vice president, Seniloli, was jailed for four years for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president during the coup and resigned on his premature release by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale.

Meanwhile, the Fijian political party, the SVT, has also welcomed Ratu Joni's appointment, saying as a lawyer he would NOT need to rely on the legal advice of the attorney general.