Thursday, February 07, 2008

Qarase: I’d rather face guns than quit 2/6/2008

“I'm still the Prime Minister,” Laisenia Qarase announced yesterday, saying he would rather face the gun than change his political principles
The ousted Prime Minister and Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party leader insisted that the 1997 Constitution was still in place which meant he was still the Prime Minister of Fiji.
“The so-called clean-up campaign has failed because some promoters of the campaign have been involved in activities like nepotism, cronyism and bad governance,” Mr Qarase told the Electoral Forum organised by the Pacific Centre for Public Integrity in Suva yesterday.
He said the key elements needed to build lasting peace were within every individual and the country did not need a $2.4millon charter to take it forward.
Mr Qarase said the interim regime had not found any proof for the corruption allegations levelled against his administration.
He said the restoration of his party to power would bring about the preparation of a manifesto based on the country's experience highlighting the military's role.
“Section 112 of the Constitution clearly states that the military doesn't have any business in politics or the running of the government,” said Mr Qarase.
“This was the issue I had been trying to raise with the commander but he has instead blocked this process.”
Mr Qarase said he was not worried about handling Commodore Voreqe Bainimama when he returned to power.
“If he respects the rule of law, then we will have no problem,” he said.
“No one has the power to overthrow any elected government.”
He said he had made a submission to the interim Prime Minister on the SDL’s view of the general election which must be held under the provisions of the1997 Constitution.
The submission included the recall of Parliament towards the end of this year. Parliament he said would sit for a week or two.
The submission also called for the Interim Regime to resign immediately prior to the recall of Parliament.
Former Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes and former Supervisor of Elections Semesa Karavaki also maintained their positions, stating their roles were alive under the 1997 Constitution.
“If the Constitution is still alive, then Mr Qarase is still the Prime Minister and I’m still the Leader of the Opposition,” said Mr Beddoes.
The United People’s Party leader said his role was endorsed and could only be terminated by the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda.
“They forgot to terminate my appointment or maybe someone forgot to remind the President about my appointment. That’s why I have continued to carry on my democratic role with the necessary resources,” said Mr Beddoes.
Mr Karavaki said he believed he still was the incumbent Supervisor of Elections even though he was the first person to be removed from the position.
“I am still the Supervisor of Elections until the people have spoken to change that,” he said. “My removal has raised questions on when the appointment of the new Supervisor of Elections will take place.”
He said the elections office was in a mess without a leader with just a little over a year to an intended general election.

Qarase, Baba to contest election
Last updated 2/6/2008

An ousted Prime Minister and an ousted Deputy Prime Minister will contest the next general election.
Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua leader Laisenia Qarase said he had already indicated he would contest next year’s poll.
And yesterday, the deputy Prime Minister in the Mahendra Chaudhry-led People’s Coalition government, Dr Tupeni Baba, said he would love to stand.
Dr Baba has indicated his support for the ousted SDL-led coalition, announcing his main aim was to take the Fiji Labour Party out.
“My only concern about the general election next year is to put an end to the FLP dominance in the political arena,” he said.
“The FLP has shown its support to the military regime.” The former FLP stalwart said he knew about the tactics the party used during its campaign so he would use those tactics against it.

Interim PM stresses military’s role - Publish date/time: 07/02/2008

The Interim Prime Minister has today stressed the military's role is to ensure the overall safety, security and well being of the people of Fiji.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama's comments follow Ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase's statement that the Army Commander does not understand the role of the RFMF.

Qarase had said that the Military Commander Commodore Bainimarama has not accepted what the military's role in Fiji is, which has resulted in all sorts of problems.

However Commodore Bainimarama said the RFMF will always ensure that all governments follow practices and policies that do not undermine the security of the nation.

Qarase has filed a case against the Military Commander's actions taken on December 5th 2006 and the case is set to start next month.

The Ousted Prime Minister said convicted criminals who have served their time should be allowed to contest the elections.

Laisenia Qarase stresses this is any Fiji citizens constitutional right and they should not be deprived of the opportunities available to them.

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