23 Jun 2014

Fiji politicians slam military chief's comments

8:12 pm on 23 June 2014

Politicians in Fiji say the military needs to respect the will of the people if the people want the constitution changed.

The politicians were reacting to reported comments by Fiji's military chief Mosese Tikoitoga that the RFMF would not tolerate the re-writing of the 2013 constitution.

The Labour Party says the regime's constitution is undemocratic and will have to be amended by the new parliament.

It has called on the military to show support for a constitution for Fiji which will ensure transparency and good governance and provide political stability.

A youth activist in Fiji Pita Waqavonovono says in the communities he's visited, people are asking for the 2013 Constitution to be changed.

He says they were not part of the process and within the document are mechanisms that entrench the rule of the gun or the coup culture.

A former opposition leader and SODELPA candidate Mick Beddoes says the military's comments amount to bullying and are the clearest reminder yet that free and fair elections are not possible.

The military chief has told Radio New Zealand International the military's role is to defend the constitution but it is not for the army to take charge if a new government tried to change the constitution completely.

He says if that happened the government would be considered illegal, presidential powers would be enforced and a new election would have to take place.