QARASE SEEKS NEW RULING ON FIJI CABINET MAKEUP

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SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Sept. 1) - Fiji Prime
Minister Laisenia Qarase has announced a new plan to break the constitutional
impasse in the country.

Qarase said he would ask the Supreme Court to make yet another
ruling on the contentious issue of how many ministries he has to offer to
members of Mahendra Chaudhry's Fiji Labor Party.

Ever since the last elections in Fiji two years ago, Qarase has
been in dispute with Chaudhry over the makeup of what constitutes, under the
Fiji constitution, a multi-party cabinet.

The Supreme Court has ordered Qarase to include Labor Party
ministers.

He has proposed expanding the cabinet to 36 ministries and is
offering 14 to the Labor Party but Chaudhry claims it should get 17.

Today, Qarase has written to the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo,
nominating the 14 Labor MPs he has selected to be ministers, but also requesting
the President to ask the Supreme Court to make a determination on whose
calculation of the numbers is right.

September 2, 2003

ABC News Online: www.abc.net.au

 

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