24 Feb 2006

Fiji's attorney general says coup convict can be president, vice president

4:17 pm on 24 February 2006

Fiji's key legal adviser says that a coup convict can be elected president of the country, but the decision to appoint lies with the nation's high chiefs.

The attorney general,Qoriniasi Bale, who is also the Justice Minister, says the constitution does not address the issue.

Mr Bale says there's nothing in it to stop the nomination of anyone with coup convictions for the presidency or vice presidency.

"In so far as the president and vice president are concerned, I see nothing in our constitution where they are appointed, to prevent anyone in that situation from being appointed."

A group of Tailevu chiefs is reported to be pushing for the return of the former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, who is still serving his four-year jail sentence from home under a Compulsory Supervision Order.

Mr Bale says both appointments are entirely at the discretion of the Great Council of Chiefs.