29 Jul 2009

Academic says Fiji's Presidency is merely an extension of interim regime

6:09 am on 29 July 2009

An academic specialising on Fiji issues says the announcement that Fiji's President will step down further reflects how the Presidency is now merely an extension of the interim regime.

Ratu Josefa Iloilo is to retire at the end of next month, and a new president will be appointed by the chief justice upon the recommendation of the Cabinet.

Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who was the indigenous affairs minister, and a former military commander, will be acting in the position until a new president is sworn in.

This comes just days after the President's Private Secretary Rupeni Nacewa retired.

Jonathan Fraenkel of the Australia National University, says the departure of these men represents a broader changing of the guards around the presidency, even though the President has been seen as a puppet for the interim regime.

"Of course the President's office have great significance under the 1997 Constitution but now that has been abrogated, the regime is making it up as they go along. Its not bound by any particular Constitutional order, so the office of the President plays whatever role they deem fit."

Jonathan Fraenkel.