POSSIBILITY OF NOVEMBER ELECTION IN FIJI

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 9, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Fiji's interim government is reportedly looking at the option of holding new elections as early as November.

Outgoing permanent secretary in the Office of the President, Luke Ratuvuki, told the Pacific News Agency that the option is being considered by state lawyers.

He said if the Court of Appeals still feels that Parliament ought to be recalled, then dissolving Parliament and calling for fresh elections could be considered.

The Court of Appeal is hearing the administration appeal against a decision by High Court Judge Anthony Gates that the interim government was unlawfully established.

The judge ruled that Fiji's 1997 constitution is still valid and that the president ought to summon an urgent session of Parliament.

Under Interim Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's current timetable, Fiji should be ready to go to the polls by May 2002.

The issue is still a matter of debate, with the ousted People’s Coalition government of Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry challenging Qarase's office to publicly release a copy of Ratu Sir Kamisese's retirement letter.

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

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