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FIJI’S ELDERLY PRESIDENT TO STEP DOWN 88-year-old Iloilo to be replaced by ex- military chief

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 28, 2009) – Fiji's interim Prime Minister has announced the retirement of the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama made the announcement at a media conference after earlier visiting Ratu Josefa at Government House today.

The 88 year old president will take his leave on Thursday and will not return to office.

Ratu Josefa who purported to abrogate the Fiji constitution at Easter, has been in ill health for some time.

Fiji's Vice President, [former military chief] Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, will become the Acting President of Fiji.

Ratu Epeli was rejected as vice president by the Great Council of Chiefs soon after the 2006 coup.

That infuriated Commodore Frank Bainimarama who then abolished the Great Council.

Soon after the Easter abrogation of the constitution Ratu Epeli was appointed vice president under Fiji's new legal order.

[PIR editor’s note: According to The Associated Press, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was named vice president in April when the former office holder was ousted for questioning military rule. With no constitution in place, the president has absolute power and rules by decree, but is widely viewed as answering to Bainimarama. Before the 2006 coup, the president and vice president were appointed by Fiji's traditional chiefs. That power now rests with the Cabinet and chief justice, who are seen as subordinate to Bainimarama.]


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