FIJI’S SVT MOUNTS CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION

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FIJI’S SVT MOUNTS CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION

SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 7, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Fiji’s main opposition SVT party plans to rally Fijians in an effort to pressure lawmakers to change the 1997 Constitution.

The SVT believes the Constitution is flawed and contends that members of Parliament won’t change it without influence from their constituents.

The SVT said it will mount a campaign to educate, persuade and unite Fijians of all political parties to change the Constitution.

"The Constitution was done in haste, particularly when feelings were still strong (following the coup)," said SVT Senator Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, Fiji’s opposition leader in the Senate.

"This Constitution has completely ignored the fact that this country is made up of two separate distinct ethnic communities," Tabakaucoro said in an interview with Pacific Beat. "We want a system that is more fair and (one) that would protect people’s differences."

A two-thirds majority of the House of Representatives and Senate is required to legally change the Constitution.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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