18 Dec 2006

Fiji's ousted opposition leader proposes legal way out of coup

5:06 am on 18 December 2006

Fiji's ousted opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has proposed what he says is a legal way out of the political crisis caused by the coup.

It begins with the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, handing back executive authority to the president and then both he and his interim prime minister, Dr Senilagakali, resigning.

Mr Beddoes says Laisenia Qarase would also be required to resign as prime minister in the interest of the nation.

He says the president should then appoint another person from the 71 recently elected members of parliament to be the interim prime minister and ask that person to form an interim multi-party cabinet of 20 ministers.

The parliament would be prorogued for a period of time sufficient to resolve all matters.

Mr Beddoes says the interim prime minister and cabinet would then set about negotiating a comprehensive agreement with the military which would include amnesty and immunity provisions to ensure long term stability

In addition, a process of law would be set up to ensure that all those individuals whom the military regard as undesirable are given a fair hearing and if insufficient evidence is found, they should be free to seek redress for wrongful dismissal.

Mr Beddoes says they have sent this proposal to Commodore Bainimarama, the president, the vice president, Laisenia Qarase, the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs and a few others with the feedback being generally positive.

But, he says, the military is not convinced the deposed prime minister would agree.