Petitions Taken As Submissions For Fiji Draft Constitution: AG

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Sayed-Khaiyum says youth petition lack ‘game plan’ for elections

By Mereani Gonedua and Reginald Chandar

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 1, 2013) – Petitions made by groups against the draft Constitution will be taken in as submissions, says Fiji's Attorney General and Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Commenting on the petition submitted to the Prime Minister's office by the Fiji Youth for Democracy group yesterday, Sayed-Khaiyum said the petition will be taken as part of the wide submissions received so far around the country.

The petition rejects the draft Constitution and calls for the reinstatement of the Ghai Commission’s 2012 People’s draft Constitution for public deliberation.

"The fact is that we need to have elections by September 2014 and people signing this petition do not have any game plan," Sayed-Khaiyum said. "No one is stopping them from making submissions and I think they should start making their submissions."

He also said that the draft has incorporated the positive things seen in the Ghai draft and it guaranties that everyone’s rights are protected.

The group collected 165 signatures from a diverse group of young people in the country and says they will continue to collect signatures up to and until the final constitutional document is adopted.

"We’re a group of young individuals from different backgrounds and fields but like-minded in the view that the Government deviated from their own process, which was more inclusive of diverse interests" said member Mereoni Chung.

She said the petition is an indication that a growing number of young people in Fiji are constitutionally informed and do not accept the proposed government draft.

"The young people of Fiji vehemently feel that the 2013 Government draft does not provide adequate constitutional provisions for a sustainable democratic future for all people, especially the young people of Fiji."

The group maintains that for a genuine democratic change to take place for a secure future, the Ghai draft must be reinstated for public debate and deliberations.

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