9 Jan 2013

Australia welcomes Fiji draft constitution

2:16 pm on 9 January 2013

The Australian government has welcomed the completion of Fiji's new draft constitution last month.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has told the newspaper, The Australian, that the draft is a substantial document and another step along the path towards Fiji's return to democracy.

The draft is based on 7,000 submissions in what amounts to the most comprehensive stock-take of people's concerns and aspirations in years.

The draft was produced by a Commission, which had been appointed by the Fiji interim government but whose work was funded mainly by aid donors, including Australia.

According to the regime decree governing the process, a Constituent Assembly will be chosen by the regime leader and tasked to finalise the draft.

The Assembly is to hold its first sitting by the second week of this month, but to date there has been no word from the interim government on who it has selected.

By decree, the work of the Constituent Assembly is to be completed at the latest by the end of the third week of March.