9 Nov 2006

Fiji military chief accuses PM of lack of integrity

9:40 am on 9 November 2006

The leader of Fiji's military, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, lacks integrity and sound judgment and there needs to be a change in direction.

He says he is not calling for the resignation of Mr Qarase but the prime minister needs to get rid of those still in government who were involved in the 2000 coup.

The army commander also says the prime minister has made a mockery of the rule of law by freeing coup perpetrators.

Commodore Bainimarama is also unhappy about government moves to oust him as the military commander.

"Let me say that the manner in which the government attempted to remove me as head of the military forces continues to show a lack of integrity, moral courage and sound judgment which has been the hallmark of Qarase's leadership in the last six years."

The military has sent a request to Mr Qarase to dump two controversial pieces of draft legislation, the Reconciliation and Unity, and the Qoliqoli bills.

He says the military understands its role in a democratic society but democracy is not alive and well in Fiji.