18 Dec 2006

Fiji's ousted opposition leader says proposal on way forward garners some support

4:13 pm on 18 December 2006

Fiji's ousted opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says a proposal he is circulating to provide a legal way forward out of the coup is receiving support from some quarters.

He says it requires the commander, Commodore Bainimarama, handing back power to the president, and then both the commander and the interim prime minister, resigning.

Mr Beddoes says the deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, would also have to resign.

He says Mr Qarase has indicated he will support the proposal if the military does.

"Basically, what we're suggesting is that the prime minister, Qarase, voluntarily resigns and then the president appoints an interim prime minister to form an interim cabinet of 20 drawn from the existing members of parliament. Under our proposal, immunity and amnesty provisions for the military would have to be done. It can't be any other way."

Mick Beddoes says the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs has also indicated his approval but the matter rests with the military.

He says the military may not find it acceptable but he is yet to receive a direct response from the commander.

Mr Beddoes says an unsigned proposal is also being put to MPs calling for a vote of no confidence in Mr Qarase but he says he won't support that.