23 Aug 2013

Former constitution writer in Fij says new system is ironic

4:32 am on 23 August 2013

A former constitution writer says the new political system in the revised Fiji constitution will take a long time to get used to.

The long-awaited final version of the constitution, which was released yesterday, has done away with individual regional constituencies and put in place a unicameral Parliament with 50 seats and proportional representation.

Dr Brij Lal, who co-authored the 1997 constitution, says it's ironic as the Political Parties Decree forced parties to have members from each of the regional divisions.

He says people may no longer be able to take up concerns with their local member of Parliament.

Dr Lal says the Attorney General still has too many powers and the leader of the opposition is a toothless tiger.

"The role of the Attorney-General is increased, there is nothing there for the leader of the opposition, and in any Westminster-style democracy, the leader of the opposition is the alternate Prime Minister."

Dr Brij Lal.

The new constitution is to be signed by the President on September the 6th.