5 Jan 2013

Fiji's Beddoes explains refusal to stand for constituent assembly

10:55 am on 5 January 2013

The president of Fiji's United People's Party, Mick Beddoes, says he has refused to tender his name for the body tasked with finalising a new constitution because he will not walk into a trap.

The Consitutent Assembly is expected next week to begin debating the draft constitution produced by Professor Yash Ghai's Constitution Commission but the interim government has yet to announce who it will appoint to the body.

The Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister says more than 300 applications have been received.

Mr Beddoes says while his and other political parties are prepared to work with the draft constitution he will not aqcuiesce to an authority he does not recognise.

"I find it ironic that I'm twice-elected legally and I represent people and in order to discuss the possibility of a new consititution I've got to apply to the actual individual who has usurped the government elected by the people in 2006 and who is responsible for the oppression and all the problems we have today."

Mick Beddoes says there are very strong rumours that the interim government has a secondary constitution that will find its way into the discussion.