FIJI CHIEFS MEET TO CONSIDER RETURN TO MONARCHY

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SUVA, Fiji (July 21, 10998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs begins meeting today, to consider whether Fiji should again become a constitutional monarchy.

When Fiji became independent in 1970, it accepted Britain's Queen Elizabeth as Head of State, a governance arrangement it retained until the second military coup of 1987.

Since then, Fiji has been a republic, with a president as head of state.

Fiji was re-admitted to the Commonwealth last year, and the Queen then told Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka that she is willing to become Head of State again if it is the wish of Fiji's people.

The Great Council of Chiefs has long maintained that Fiji should restore its links with the British Crown.

The Council will give its views this week, after which the matter will be considered by Fiji's Parliament.

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