FIJI’S PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE REJECTS REPORTS OF NEW PRIME MINISTER March13, 2001

FIJI’S PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE REJECTS REPORTS OF NEW PRIME MINISTER

SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 13, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The Office of the President has described as "false and mischievous" local and international reports that the acting president was about to swear in Dr. Tupeni Baba as Fiji’s new prime minister.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that the local news stories were based on a legal opinion provided to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo by the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum.

"The acting president is getting no shortage of advice and legal opinions as to what he should do. But the Secretary to the President, a former senior army officer, Jeremiah Waqanisau, says Ratu Josefa Iloilo is still considering his options and he says that reports that he’d already chosen Dr. Tupeni Baba as prime minister were disrespectful to the president and the Great Council of Chiefs who’ll be meeting again today.

"Mr. Waqanisau says Ratu Iloilo wants whatever course he chooses to be a proper legal one. ‘I have every confidence that it will be within the rule of law and I think that’s the way his actions have been up to now -- that he wants to see whatever is done to be within the rule of law.’

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia, Suva."

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