Monday, June 02, 2008

BLV is the appointing authority

Dr Lal: BLV is the appointing authority
Monday, June 02, 2008

A CO-ARCHITECT of the 1997 Constitution says the procedure to appoint the President was clearly outlined in the Constitution and consultation referred to, did not mean kowtowing.

Dr Brij Lal made the comments in response to interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's statement that there were many ways to appoint a President and Vice-President if the chiefs failed to get on board the new look Great Council of Chiefs.

Under the Constitution, the President and Vice-President are appointed by the GCC following consultations with the Prime Minister.

"Consultation does not mean concurrence or kowtowing. And the appointing authority is the BLV, no one else. But we are not talking about constitutional niceties here," said Dr Lal.

"The interim Prime Minister has made it amply clear that it will be his way and no other way. The message is loud and clear."

Dr Lal said those hoping for a democratic resolution to the impasse should be prepared for an undemocratic one.

He said since the option of Constitution abrogation has been canvassed among Commodore Bainimarama's officers, no one should be surprised if he follows through with this option.

"After all, he tried hard to abrogate the constitution in 2000, but was stopped by the courts. Whether the courts have the moral courage and the constitutional spine to defend the constitution this time around is anyone's guess. The country is still waiting for the High Court's decision on Mr Qarase's challenge.

"In the past, when FLP (Fiji Labour Party) brought its cases before the courts, delayed decisions were rightly decried, but now there does not seem to be any urgency, at least on the part of a few prominent NGOs to demand a speed resolution to a whole host of crucial cases before the courts." When contacted yesterday, deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase declined to comment.

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