CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT SAYS NEW REGIME ILLEGAL

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 22) – A legal expert in Fiji says the president is a puppet in a regime that can only be viewed as illegal.

Constitutional lawyer Richard Naidu made the comment following claims by the new Attorney General that last month’s overthrow wasn’t a coup.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, also the Justice Minister, says the military intervention did not breach the constitution because it fell within the scope of a doctrine of necessity.

Mr Naidu says while the president’s gone along with it all, that doesn’t make it right.

"Let’s face it, he’s the military’s president now. We can pretend that just because he was the president before the coup and is the president after the coup, that we have some sort of constitutional government. But the fact is the president eventually simply submitted to the military. He’s the military’s president, he’s not the constitution’s president."

Mr Naidu also says he’s got real concerns about independence of judiciary.

He believes the military’s trying to subvert court rulings by passing illegal laws every time the court does something it doesn’t like.

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