BY-ELECTION TO BE HELD IN FIJI FOR SEAT VACATED BY COUP LEADER SPEIGHT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 10, 2001 – Radio Australia)---A by-election will have to be held in Fiji following last week’s dismissal of coup leader George Speight from Parliament.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, has formally removed him for being absent since the elections in late August.

Speight remains in jail awaiting trial for treason, over his storming of Parliament during May of last year.

His seat will now be re-contested at a by-election, but there's nothing to stop him from running again if it's held before he goes on trial.

Adi Kuini Speed, former deputy prime minister in the coup-ousted government of Mahendra Chaudhry, said Speight should not have been allowed to take part in last August's elections.

"If I had dealt with it, I would have done that right from the beginning. I would have not allowed it, first of all.

"People like this would not take part in the elections. It seems ridiculous. They're taking part to run for office in the government that they abused in the first place. This to me, is a waste of time," Adi Kuini emphasized.

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

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