7 Feb 2011

Fiji interim government formally announces death of former president

7:36 pm on 7 February 2011

The Fiji interim government has formally announced that former president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, died at the weekend after a long illness.

The interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says he'll be given a full state funeral.

The former teacher and politician became president in 2000 after Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara was deposed by the George Speight led coup.

He himself was removed during the 2006 coup but restored the following year.

Ratu Josefa, who was 91, retired in 2009.

Fiji-born Canberra based academic, Dr Brij Lal, says Ratu Josefa will be remembered as a humble, decent man who was used by the Bainimarama regime.

"I think it became fairly clear that the military used him to secure outcomes, political outcomes it wanted for itself. They wrote edicts in his name and he signed them, and he was really a frail man, and it's widely believed that he wasn't fully aware of what was going on."