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Suva, Fiji Islands

NEWS RELEASE January 2, 2001

The substantiative President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, has not formally resigned from his post.

The Qarase regime two weeks ago had claimed that it had received a letter from the President informing it of his decision to resign from the Presidency with effect from 29 May 2000.

The announcement to the effect that Ratu Mara had resigned was made by the interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s office.

But many had remained skeptical of the Qarase announcement.

First, despite the demands from the media, the regime did not produce a copy of the resignation letter.

Second, under law and custom, any resignation from the post would have to be communicated not to the interim PM’s office but to the Great Council of Chiefs.

GCC Chairperson, Sitiveni Rabuka, informed the media that he had not received any resignation letter. But pro-Qarase political parties – notably the SVT and the Nationalists – immediately thanked Ratu Mara for the job he had done. These attempts were seen as intended to give support to the regime’s propaganda that Ratu Mara had resigned.

In the latest twist to the propaganda to discredit Ratu Mara, the regime has been portraying him as a sick man needing foreign medical treatment. Granted that Ratu Mara, who is over 80, is not in the finest of health, but he certainly is nowhere near the state which the regime tries to portray.

It is understood that accusations and the propaganda are designed to discredit Ratu Mara and to force him to formally submit his resignation from the post.

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