19 Apr 2007

Fiji administration gazettes suspension of Great Council of Chiefs

7:30 am on 19 April 2007

Fiji's interim administration has published an extraordinary government gazette suspending the Great Council of Chiefs.

The Fiji Sun reports that its members have lost all their rights and entitlements and those holding posts under the Fijian Affairs regulations have lost such appointments.

The action follows the refusal of the Great Council to endorse President Iloilo's nomination to fill the vice presidency on the grounds that it considered the interim administration illegal.

The deposed prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, is quoted as saying the Great Council of Chiefs is the pinnacle of the Fijian Administration system and if the matter is not handled carefully, it could spark a violent reaction from ordinary Fijians.

But the military's Land Force commander, Col Pita Driti, says this is not going to happen.

Col Driti says Mr Qarase is trying to incite ordinary Fijians but the military is monitoring the situation very carefully and is not worried.

He says the more Mr Qarase continues to speak out against the interim administration, the more difficult it will be for him to travel to Suva.