24 Feb 2006

Fresh row erupts between Fiji military and home affairs ministry

6:25 pm on 24 February 2006

A fresh public row has developed between Fiji's minister for home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, and the military.

Radio Legend reports that Mr Vosanibola has called on the military to respect the constitution by not commenting on matters affecting the appointment of the president and the vice president by the Great Council of Chiefs.

Mr Vosanibola says every citizen should respect any decision by the Great Council in the exercise of its constitutional powers.

But the military insists that it has the right to comment on the kind of person it wants the Council to appoint as president because the head of state is also its commander-in-chief.

A senior military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, says they have received information today that Council members are likely to nominate certain chiefs.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says the military is now monitoring whether the chiefs will gather support for those involved the 2000 coup and support ethno-nationalism.