NEW SESSION OF FIJI PARLIAMENT OPENS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (July 29, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Fiji's President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka have urged the country's Parliament and its people to embrace the nation's new constitution, which became effective Monday.

In opening a new session of Parliament today, Ratu Mara said the challenge for Fijian Parliamentarians is to make the new constitution work.

Ratu Mara said a total commitment by all Fijians is needed for the constitution to succeed, adding that he believes an understanding of the constitution should be promoted in all school classrooms.

He also told Parliament that he hopes the country's new name - the Republic of the Fiji Islands -- will finally bring to an end the long debate over the official national name.

Prime Minister Rabuka said the new constitution (which eliminates discrimination against Fijians who are not of indigenous ethnicity) will help to make Fiji a strong and caring nation.

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