9 Nov 2006

Fiji PM sharply criticised by military chief

12:52 pm on 9 November 2006

There's been stinging criticism of the Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, by the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The commander says attempts to remove him from office show a lack of integrity and sound judgment which he says has been a hallmark of the P.M.'s leadership over the last six years.

Commodore Bainimarama says Mr Qarase has made a mockery of the rule of law by freeing coup perpetrators and he needs to get rid of those in government who were involved in the 2000 coup.

He is also calling on Mr Qarase to dump two pieces of controversial draft legislation, the Reconciliation and Unity bill, and the Qoliqoli bill.

The commander then defended the military speaking out about these issues.

"There has been great debate about the role of the military in a democratic country and that it should be subservient to political masters. The military understands this better than most people think we do. However, it would be wrong to believe that democracy is well and alive."