Monday, April 06, 2009

Qarase should be caretaker PM court told

Qarase should be caretaker PM court - 06/04/2009

A suggestion was made in the Fiji Court of Appeal today that former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase should be appointed as Caretaker Prime Minister to follow the constitutional process in dissolving parliament and allow the process of election to take place.

This is a suggestion made by SDL legal counsel Brett Walker to the Appeals Court judges, as something that they may suggest.The appeal case proper began today where Qarase is challenging the High Court decision of October last year where the court ruled in favour of the President that he used his reserved powers and declared that the interim government and its promulgations are legal.

The Court of Appeal judges questioned whether Qarase has resigned from office to which the SDL legal counsel said that he has not resigned and he is still the legal and constitutional Prime Minister of Fiji.Meanwhile, Qarase's lawyer, Walker said the current Interim Prime Minister cannot be the Commander of the Fiji Military Force and at the same time be a Prime Minister.He told the Fiji Court of Appeal judges, Justice Randell Powell, Justice Ian Lloyd and Justice Francis Douglas that if he wants to be the Prime Minister, he should stand for the next elections as its unconstitutional for him to hold both positions.

He also said that President Ratu Josefa Iloilo should not use the reserved powers to remove a government elected by the people of Fiji.Walker told the court that his client wants the Appeals Court to rule whether the actions taken by the President in exercising the reserved powers is valid or not.

He said under the constitution, if the President exercises those powers, it should be based on the advice of the Prime Minister or the Minister before exercising those powers.Walker said the court cannot modify the constitution in any aspect and only the role of the court is to interpret and make a decision which is lawful.The case continues tomorrow.

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