5 Dec 2006

Academic says lack of support from Fiji President for his prime minister deeply distressing

7:12 pm on 5 December 2006

Indo-Fijian academic, Dr Brij Lal, who was one of the 3 architects of Fiji's constitution says the actions of President Ratu Josefa Iloilo during the attempted coup have been deeply distressing.

President Iloilo firstly endorsed the military's action by asking the prime minister to resign.

He later reversed this position issuing a statement saying he neither condones nor supports the actions of the military and called for a legal solution to the found.

Dr Lal, who teaches at the Australian National University in Canberra, asks who has been advising the president.

He says the president's actions in not supporting Mr Qarase are tragic.

"Here we have a duly elected prime minister of the country under house arrest. The president is constitutionally duty bound to protect his government and he says that he neither condones nor supports what the army has done. Now that to me is in blatant breach of both the letter and the spirit of the constitution."

The president of Fij's Council of Churches and the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji, the reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, has condemned the actions of the military in trying to force the prime minister out of office.

He says the move by Commodore Bainimarama has no support from Christians.

It is illegal, it is unconstitutional, thereforce it lacks the support of the Christian community in the country.