22 Mar 2013

Latest draft constitution a Fiji regime recipe to stay in power says Pacific politics expert

4:08 pm on 22 March 2013

A specialist in Pacific Island politics, Professor Jon Fraenkel, says the Fiji regime's draft constitution looks like a recipe to enable the present regime to stay in power.

Professor Jon Fraenkel of New Zealand's Victoria University says there is a lack of safeguards in the document over the transition of power in the run up to the election promised for September 2014.

The earlier draft of the Yash Ghai-led Constitution Commission provided for a transitional council in the run-up to the election.

Professor Fraenkel says this was a way of ensuring an election could be held in a meaningful, free and fair way but there is none of that in the regime's draft.

"The prime minister and the cabinet remain in office right up until the day of the election. The president also remains in office. When you look at it it looks much more like a recipe for a tokenistic election that will ensure the continuity of the Bainimarama government."

Professor Jon Fraenkel says the draft is short-sighted and quite personalised for a constitution.

He says the two week period for people to give their feedback is also tokenistic.