20 Feb 2006

Fiji Military does not want former convicts as president

2:15 pm on 20 February 2006

A Fiji military spokesperson says it would be hard for them to accept a former convict as the country's president and military commander in chief.

This follows concerns that chiefs from the Tailevu provice will lobby for the former vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, to be re-instated by the Great Council of Chiefs, the GCC, to complete his term.

Ratu Jope resigned from the position in 2004 after he was jailed for coup related offences.

The GCC meets next month to appoint both a president and a vice-president, and Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa says the military would like to see the positions filled by those wihout a record.

"All other people who serve their time under the prisons act, their record will stand for the next ten years. And if they commit another crime, that record can come up again. We cannot afford to have the highest office in the land to have someone who who has a record. The prerequisite within the constitution itself is a person of integrity."