8 Mar 2006

Fiji chiefs in talks to choose new president

2:33 pm on 8 March 2006

Members of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs are currently meeting in Suva to discuss whom to appoint as the country's president and vice president.

Radio Legend reports that the chiefs from the three traditional Fijian confederacies of Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata have split into their different groups to discuss the names they want to put forward for the two top jobs.

The chairman of the Great Council, Ratu Ovini Bokini, opened the meeting this morning by appealing to the chiefs to make their decision wisely.

The chiefs have been given until early afternoon to come back with their nominations for the president and vice president.

The incumbents, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, have offered themselves for reappointment.

Meanwhile, the minister of education and Rewa high chief, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has denounced a newspaper report that she led a delegation of chiefs to Government House last night to ask President Iloilo to withdraw from the presidential contest.

Ro Teimumu, who holds the high title of Roko Tui Dreketi, says she was at home last night and no delegation from her Burebasaga confederacy went anywhere near Government House.

She says Rewa chiefs did meet yesterday but it was over matters regarding the agenda of today's Great Council of Chiefs meeting.

In a related development, the chairman of the Great Council, Ratu Ovini Bokini, has stressed that he was NOT part of a delegation which called on President Iloilo last night and asked him to step down.