10 Jan 2007

Fiji military's interim cabinet drawn from all political parties

10:53 am on 10 January 2007

The second group of ministers in Fiji's military appointed interim cabinet sworn in yesterday has representation from all major political parties.

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, who was twice deposed as the minister of finance in the 1987 and 2000 coups, has taken up the same position again.

In addition, Mr Chaudhry has also taken up the portfolios of national planning, sugar industry reform, and public enterprises.

The FLP's Lekh Ram Vyashnoi, who was minister of energy in the deposed multi-party cabinet, has been sworn in as minister for youth, sport and employment opportunities.

A minister of state in the deposed SDL government, Jone Navakasuasua, has taken up the portfolio of minister for local government, urban development and public utilities and is reported to have resigned from the SDL party.

The former deputy leader of the opposition, Bernadette Rounds Ganilau, has resigned from the United People's Party and been sworn as the interim minister for labour, tourism and environment.

While her former leader, Mick Beddoes, is opposed to the military appointed government, Ms Ganilau says it's time to stop complaining and move Fiji forward.

The leader of the National Alliance Party and former chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has confirmed that he has been offered the key portfolio of Fijian affairs and will take it up on Monday.

Ratu Epeli has rejected allegations that he was involved in last month's military coup and says if anyone has concrete proof, they should take it up with the military.

Ratu Epeli, who publicly supported the military's clean-up campaign, says he willing to help Fiji get rid of corruption and move the country forward.

Two civil servants have also taken up cabinet portfolios, Jainendra Kumar as the minister for agriculture and Tevita Vuibau is the new minister for lands and mineral resources.