10 Feb 2006

Fiji military won't support coup-implicated chief for presidency

8:27 am on 10 February 2006

Fiji's military says it will not support the nomination of any chief implicated in the 2000 coup for the presidency.

Radio Fiji reports that the military stance comes ahead of next month's meeting of the Great Council of Chiefs, which will appoint a president and a vice president.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says the force's stand is that it will not support any coup-tainted chief nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs.

Captain Leweni says the military is aware that some chiefs whose names are being floated for nomination were implicated in the 2000 coup.

The military has no constitutional role in the election of the president.

But Captain Leweni says since the president is the commander-in-chief of the military, it won't allow anyone with a coup background to be the head of state.

A president is eligible to serve a maximum of two terms and the current president, 85-year old Ratu Josefa Iloilo, has said he is available for another term.

The Constitution gives the Great Council of Chiefs the power to remove the president or the vice president from office for inability to perform the functions of the office whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause.