8 Jan 2008

Fiji cabinet reshuffle said to be strategic move towards 2009 elections

5:36 am on 8 January 2008

An academic at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji says the interim government's reshuffle is a strategic move towards the 2009 general elections.

Nine cabinet ministers have been dropped in favour of four new ministers, who were sworn in yesterday.

Dr Jiko Luveni takes on the Health, Women and Social Welfare porfolios, and Filipe Bole is the new minister for education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts, Youth and Sports.

Timoci Lesi Natuva is the new minister for Works and Transport and the Minister for Industry, Tourism, Trade and Communication is now Tom Ricketts.

The head of Sociology, Dr Steven Ratuva, says the latest appointments are key to the interim regime's political vision.

"For instance, the new members who have been incorporated into the Cabinet are either former army officers or related to army officers, or supporters of the Alliance Party which has been prominent in the interim government since the coup."