11 Mar 2013

Many reluctant to sit on Fiji Constituent Assembly, says former deputy PM

4:25 pm on 11 March 2013

A former Fiji deputy prime minister Dr Tupeni Baba says a lot of people are reluctant to sit on the Constituent Assembly to discuss the country's draft constitution.

The Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama says a draft constitution completed by the Attorney General's Office has been ready for the past couple of weeks, replacing the draft written by Professor Yash Ghai from the Constitution Commission, which was dumped two months ago.

Dr Baba says some parties applied to sit on the Assembly, assuming they would be discussing Professor Ghai's draft.

But now, he says, nobody will see the draft until the Constituent Assembly is chosen.

He says whoever is selected will be walking into a trap.

"A lot of people are reluctant to go. They want to know the extent to which the Ghai draft has been amended before they accept an invitation to go there. Because once they accept an invitation to go in, and when they're in there and find out that the kind of changes that have been made to the Ghai draft are so extensive, they will find it difficult to stay there - they'll probably walk out."

Dr Tupeni Baba.

The Prime Minister says the Constituent Assembly, which was due to sit more than two months ago, will be appointed when all issues relating to the registration of proposed parties are addressed.