16 Oct 2019

Call for review of Fiji's constitution

8:56 am on 16 October 2019

Fiji's opposition is again calling for a review of the country's constitution.

A joint parliamentary select committee should be set up to look into the 2013 Constitution, National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad said.

Fiji's parliament buildings in Suva.

Fiji's parliament buildings in Suva. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

Mr Prasad told the Social Cohesion Dialogue last week the constitution has been imposed on the people of Fiji.

He recalled the 1997 constitution, which came about as a result of widespread consultation and discussion between the then prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka and former opposition leader Jai Ram Reddy.

"That constitution was overthrown by Frank Bainimarama in a military coup in 2006. This 2013 Constitution was again imposed on the people of Fiji.

"It's time to relook at that constitution, review that constitution so that we get the support and understanding of the people of this country."

The deputy leader of the opposition in Fiji and NFP president Biman Prasad.

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

Mr Prasad said the 1990 constitution was also imposed on the people of Fiji.

"But that constitution was viewed through a bipartisan approach and created a platform for dialogue which we arrived at the 1997 constitution," he said.

Anything imposed on a country did not lead to social cohesion, he said, and it also did not lead to nation-building in the way that it should.

"Now that we have been in Parliament under the 2013 constitution for the last four or five years, it's time to start the process by appointing a joint committee to look at it."