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QARASE’S PARTY FILES SUIT OVER FIJI CHARTER SDL claims interim government acting illegally

By Monika Singh

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 2, 2008) - The ousted Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua [SDL] party yesterday filed a legal action asking the court to declare the establishment of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and its work as unlawful.

Ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said the legal action was filed against the interim Government, the State, interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the co-chair of the People’s Charter and the secretary of the NCBBF.

Mr. Qarase said they also wanted the court to declare that the intention of the interim government to act on the recommendation of the NCBBF, and its charter, especially to introduce changes contrary to the constitution, was beyond its powers and therefore unlawful.

He said they had asked the court to direct the interim regime to cease all work related to the NCBBF and the People’s Charter.

He also said the extension of the Charter consultation process would work against the interim government because it would give the three political parties (SDL, National Federation Party and United People’s Party) and other organizations opposed to the Charter more time to explain the demerits of the Charter in detail.

Qarase said the legal action was taken against the interim government after the party had exhausted all requests to the interim regime for the establishment of a political forum to resolve the political crisis.

SDL lawyer Niko Nawaikula said the party’s ex parte case hearing is on October 9. He said he would ask the court to direct the regime to refrain from making any changes to the Constitution.

Mr. Nawaikula said their case would highlight the quality of advice given to the interim regime by the interim Attorney-General.

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