NO DECISION BY FIJI CHIEFS ON HEAD OF STATE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 18, 1998 - Radio Australia)---Fiji chiefs have failed to make a decision on whether the country's head of state should revert to the British Crown.

Radio Australia correspondent Karan Pillay reports that the Great Council of Chiefs will now take a vote on the issue at another meeting next year.

"The Great Council of Chiefs, at their last meeting earlier this year, decided that the 14 Fijian provinces in the country should vote on the Crown issue first before the chiefs make a final decision. But now a spokesman for the chiefs says there wasn't enough information provided by the provincial councils on the issue for them to make a firm decision, and no vote has been taken.

"However, the spokesman did say the majority feeling among the chiefs was for Fiji to remain a republic.

"Only a handful of provincial councils agree that re-establishing links with the monarchy would see more aid and development spilling into Fiji.

"Some also believe the move will strengthen ties between Fiji and the Crown.

"Fiji cut off ties with the Crown after it was declared a republic in 1987, following the two military coups.

"Karen Pillay, Suva."

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