17 Nov 2005

Pro-coup MP confirmed as deputy speaker in Fiji

5:30 pm on 17 November 2005

An MP of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party in Fiji's coalition government, Manasa Tugia, has been confirmed as the new Deputy Speaker of parliament.

Mr Tugia succeeds Ratu Rakuita Vakalabure whose appointment was revoked earlier this year when he lost his parliamentary seat.

Vakalalabure is serving a six-year jail sentence for taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence by being sworn in as a member of George Speight's failed rebel administration during the coup.

Mr Tugia came in the public eye in April when he refused to accept the lands portfolio in the cabinet unless all coup prisoners were freed.

The lands portfolio was then taken up by Speight's brother, Samisoni Tikonisau.

More recently Mr Tugia has been chairing parliament's justice, law and order committee which has been hearing public submissions on the government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.