Fiji leader 'disappointed' at Carr response to constitution

Former Fijian prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry has criticised Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr for welcoming the release of Fiji's new constitution.

Senator Carr says the interim government's release of its draft constitution is an important step forward for Fiji's commitment to hold elections by September 2014.

He says Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making credible steps towards a return to democracy.

Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat he is not convinced Senator Carr has read the constitution.

"All political parties here have rejected the constitution and they are quite appalled at its content," he said.

"It's very unusual that a Labor government should welcome a constitution which is lacking in human rights and trade union workers' rights.

"If the constitution does not meet the requirements of a democratic state, then one should be brave enough to say so."

Fiji's interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, released Fiji's new constitution on August 22.

The new document will replace the 1997 constitution that was set aside by the military regime four years ago.

It calls for a single-chamber 50-member Parliament, with elections to be held every four years.

In January, the Fijian government scrapped the draft constitution drawn up by an independent commission led by Professor Yash Ghai.

The draft was submitted to be re-written, and Fiji's Government says the final version now includes stronger protections for communally-owned i'Taukei, Rotuman and Banaban lands.

It also alters the draft constitution to abolish the individual regional constituencies in favour of one national constituency covering the whole of Fiji.

The constitution is expected to be formally endorsed after public feedback on the accuracy of translations into local dialects.

ABC News

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Business Pacific


Sports News