9 Mar 2012

Fiji regime announces constitutional consultation process

11:59 am on 9 March 2012

Fiji's military regime has announced the process of consultations towards a new constitution before elections expected in 2014.

A statement says the 12-month process includes a civic education programme and will consist of meetings for people to contribute their ideas.

A five-member Constitutional Commission will oversee the process and a Constituent Assembly will discuss, debate and approve the new Constitution.

The regime leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says the process is guided by principles including a common and equal citizenry, a secular state, and the removal of systemic corruption.

Starting in May, a civic education programme will be conducted in both English and in the vernacular languages.

In July, consultations will take place under the leadership of the Constitutional Commission.

The Chairperson of the Constitutional Commission will be a Kenyan constitutional scholar, Professor Yash Ghai.

The Commission will also include Fiji's first female Deputy Prime Minister, Taufa Vakatale, and an academic and former Member of Parliament, Satendra Nandan, with two more names to be announced.

Following consultations, the Commission will draft a constitution by the end of December and submit it to a Constituent Assembly consisting of civil society groups, faith-based organisations, political parties, and the Government.

The Assembly will debate a draft constitution before presenting it to the President by the end of February 2013.