PRIME MINISTER RABUKA SEES MULTI-ETHNIC FIJI GOVERNMENT SOON

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SUVA (June 9, 1997 - RADIO AUSTRALIA) ---Fiji's Prime Minister, Major General Sitiveni Rabuka, says his country could have a multi-ethnic government within a month.

Rabuka was referring to a bill introduced in Parliament today which would amend the constitution to create Fiji's first multi-party cabinet in a decade.

The present constitution, agreed to following two military coups in 1987, guarantees that ethnic-Fijians hold power and ethnic Indians, who make up 45 percent of the population, are excluded.

Rabuka said he planned to bring five opposition members into his cabinet, but was waiting for the bill to go through Parliament before seeking nominations.

Introduction of the bill follows agreement last Friday by Fiji's High Chiefs to the constitutional changes. Under the agreement, 46 seats of the 71 in the House of Representatives are to be reserved on a racial basis, with 25 seats open for election by all voters.

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