22 Feb 2006

Fiji military warns against appointing coup convicts or supporters to presidential office

11:19 am on 22 February 2006

Fiji's military has written to President Iloilo expressing its concern that anyone implicated in the May 2000 coup should not be elected into office at Government House.

Fiji TV says the military has confirmed writing to the president but no details of the letter have been released.

But it says Commodore Bainimarama has advised President Iloilo that the military opposes the appointment of anyone with coup convictions or anyone linked to the coup into Government House either as president or vice president.

In the letter, the military has talked about invoking the Doctrine of Necessity as an option if the Great Council of Chiefs decides to appoint someone who has been implicated in or convicted of coup offences.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says even if they have been convicted and have served their sentences, their criminal records will remain for the next 10 years under Fiji laws.

The prime minister and minister for Fijian affairs, Laisenia Qarase,says the Great Council of Chiefs should be left alone to make its decision according to its procedures.

The Great Council will meet on the 8th of March to appoint the president and the vice president.