ONE OF FIJI'S CHIEFS RESIGNS PROVINCIAL CHAIRMANSHIP

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 17, 1999 – Radio Australia)---One of Fiji's highest ranking chiefs has been forced to resign the chairmanship of his traditional provincial council.

Radio Australia correspondent Ofa Kaukimoce reports that the country's new constitution forced the change.

"Among those affected are Fiji's President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and his Vice President Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

"Ratu Iloilo has already stepped down as Chairman of the Ba Provincial Council, the largest province in Fiji."

"Ratu Sir Kamisese is Chairman of the Lau Provincial Council, but as yet has not resigned his chairmanship."

"The Fijian Affairs Board disclosed to Radio Fiji that under the country's 1997 Constitution, indigenous Fijians cannot hold a parliamentary position and/or public office and still retain their office in the provincial councils. "This constitutional requirement conflicts with legislation governing indigenous Fijian affairs, which allows for dual membership.

"This issue adds more fuel to the fire of the indigenous Fijians opposed to the constitutional changes."

"Ofa Kaukimoce for Radio Australia in Suva."

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