FIJI LAWMAKERS PLAN TO OUST DEPUTY SPEAKER

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Mar. 27) - A group of Fiji Members of Parliament are planning a motion of no confidence in the Deputy Speaker Of Parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure.

This follows Ratu Rakuita’s arrest on coup related charges.

Ratu Rakuita, from the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party, has been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence when he was sworn in as Attorney General in George Speight’s failed administration.

He is also charged with engaging in seditious enterprise.

Fiji TV quotes the opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, as saying that MPs charged with offences are innocent until proven guilty.

But Beddoes says it is unfortunate that the constitution does not have provisions requiring such MPs to stand down until they have cleared their name.

A motion of no confidence in the deputy speaker will require a majority of votes in the 71-member House of Representatives before he loses office.

To lose his parliamentary seat, Ratu Rakuita would have to be convicted and jailed for at least one year.

March 27, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com 

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