9 Mar 2012

Fiji leader hopes for broad input into new constitution

6:04 pm on 9 March 2012

Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, says he hopes all organisations will be involved in the process of writing the country's new constitution.

It will replace the 1997 constitution which the regime abolished three years ago when the appeal court ruled that Commodore Bainimarama's post-coup interim government was illegal.

The regime this morning announced the process, which will have a five-member Constitutional Commission overseeing it.

Following a public consultation, a draft constitution will be written, which will be debated by a constituent assembly.

Commodore Bainimarama says in the consultations on the 1997 constitution, some people did not feel they had a voice.

"The Constituent Assembly will consist of representative civil society groups and organisations that are Fijian-registered, including faith-based organisations, national institutions, political parties, and Government. It should be noted - ladies and gentlemen - that we had a similar constituent assembly only a few years ago in the form of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji. We hope that all organizations will participate in this Constituent Assembly."

Commodore Frank Bainimarama is urging people to put aside prejudices, any self-interest and political ambitions.