TERM OF FIJI GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS CHAIRMAN RATU EPELI EXTENDED

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 28, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The term of the Chairman of Fiji's Great Council of chiefs has been trebled -- from one year to three years.

The council is one of the most powerful political institutions in Fiji.

Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, who is also Minister for Fijian Affairs, proposed the extension of the term of the Chairman to the Cabinet, and it was approved.

Current Chairman Ratu Epeli Ganilau will now remain Chairman until 2005.

In a statement, Ratu Epeli said the change was timely because of the proposed construction of the new Great Council of Chief's complex in Suva, which is scheduled to begin in next May and be completed in 2004.

Ratu Epeli said a sub-committee was reviewing the design before putting a dollar value on the cost of construction.

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

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