1 Dec 2006

Fiji's military Commander wants three controversial govt bills thrown out

10:04 am on 1 December 2006

Fiji's military commander says he wants the three controversial government Bills at the centre of the dispute thrown out, not suspended.

Commodore Bainimarama issued the ultimatum as he gave the government until midday today to meet all his demands unconditionally or face the military's clean-up campaign.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, said yesterday the government had agreed to suspend further action on the three Bills pending a detailed legal examination of the legislation to determine their constitutionality with New Zealand help..

Mr Qarase said if the re-examination finds that the final drafts of the Bills are inconsistent with the constitution, the government will not hesitate to withdraw them.

But Commodore Bainimarama says they want the Bills thrown out - full stop.

Mr Qarase also did not say anything about another of the military's key demands which is to remove all those involved in the coup his government and from holding public office.

The prime minister has offered to hold further discussions with the military commander and says he will be going about his normal business today.

Mr Qarase is also reported to have told Auckland radio station RADIO TARANA last night the problem is that he is trying to deal with someone who is absolutely deranged and unstable.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's prime minister, Helen Clark, and foreign minister, Winston Peters, have expressed bafflement at Commodore Bainimarama's description of the talks in Wellington on Wednesday as a failure.

Mr Peters says the commander is ignoring agreements reached in Wellington and has strayed from its resolutions.