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Title vacant since death of chief last April

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 4, 2009) – Fiji’s ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase may qualify to be a member of the traditional leaders` council after his installation as chief of his village.

According to Fijian Affairs Board spokesman Kini Rarubi, the decision on whether or not Qarase is eligible to be part of the Bose ni Turaga will be the board’s.

"If he qualifies as a turaga-i-taukei then probably the board will extend an invitation to him for the next meeting," he said.

[PIR editor’s note: ] Turaga I taukei is a highest ranking chief who traditionally has overarching authority over several mataqalis (land owning unit) and villages at the yavusa level. The yavusa is a socio political unit within the larger political structure of indigenous Fijian society.

Qarase was bestowed the title of Tui Kubuca in a traditional ceremony on Mavana Village in Vanuabalavu on New Year’s Day.

As Tui Kubuca, Qarase is the leader of Yavusa Qalita, consisting of four sub-clans.

The title was vacant after the death of the previous holder, Josefa Cagi, in April last year.

Last month, more than 120 chiefs representing various clans, sub clans and provinces attended the two-day Bose ni Turaga at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva.

The interim Government plans to call another similar meeting early this year.

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