RADIO FIJI INTERVIEW WITH, NEW PRIME MINISTER RATU TEVITA MOMOEDONU

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Suva, Fiji Islands March 14, 2001

Q: Whose choice was it to appoint you as Prime Minister?

A: The choice was entirely the President’s prerogative because that is within the constitution. He has the constitutional right to dismiss the prime minister of the day and he also has the right to appoint anyone from the cabinet to the post of prime minister.

Q: Is there a likelihood of you resigning from the post of Prime Minister after the swearing in tomorrow?

A: My task really is to try and facilitate the normalizing of the running of this country and if I’m required to resign again tomorrow so that we have the clear path to appointment another caretaker government, that’s it. I will facilitate it.

Q: Your appointment specifically stated that your posting at the moment is of caretaker prime minister, which means that you will be leading a caretaker government. So why should you resign tomorrow?

A: That is covered in the constitution. I must reiterate that it is the prerogative of the President. He can appoint a caretaker government today and dismiss it again tomorrow. That is within his rights and prerogative under the Constitution (1997 Constitution).

Q: What about the interim administration that is running the country at the moment?

A: Well, now that I have been appointed as Prime Minister, the very logical thing for them to do now is to tender their resignation as soon as possible, and I think that will come about tomorrow.

Q: The parliament from the last elected government is still valid up until now, when is the likelihood of them being dismissed from office?

A: Now that I’ve been appointed the Prime Minister, one of the tasks that I would like to see is to send this country back to normal. To have the same team running the country, I think that is most disastrous and dangerous for this nation because there has been a lot of fighting amongst them and I think I will advise the President tomorrow to dissolve parliament and go back to the people to get a new team a new slate of parliamentarians who can move this country forward. I don’t seem to have faith in the old government because it has been and it will continue with the fighting and all this. My view in the matter is to advise the President to dissolve parliament and go for fresh elections sometime in August.

Q: Will you be tendering your resignation soon as interim Minister for Labour?

A: That I think I will have to do --tender my resignation soon.

Q: How long will the caretaker government go on for if you were to lead it?

A: Right now I cannot say that I will be appointed Prime Minister again within the caretaker government to lead this country into the next general elections. One thing I can say is that the general elections may have to be held sometimes in August, so the weight of elections may be given to the president sometimes in July before the elections take place in August.

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