Thursday, April 09, 2009

Voreqe's appointment as PM ‘unlawful’

Voreqe's appointment as PM ‘unlawful’

Sai Comment:

- Isa sa rogoca na Kalou na noda masu! God has heard our prayers for Fiji!

I set down this afternoon to say a word of prayer for a ruling that would be in Fiji's best interest and how grateful to get one we all know speaks to the truth of the issues at the heart of the court case.

That is all I could say at this hour and about this truly livesaving judgement for our beloved Fiji. The test now is whether Voreqe and his illegal regime and supporters will have the guts and humility to abide by the decision. All indications and past behaviour point to him either ignoring it or moving to abrogate the Constitution of Fiji. May he be punished, his supporters and his descendants, if he chooses to throw Fiji's future and of its people to the four winds!

No Govt, President to make decision soon

Fiji effectively has no Prime Minister, no ministers and no Government in place, says interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.Bainimarama made the comment moments ago in a national televised address.He confirmed that the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo will soon make a decision following today’s Court of Appeal ruling that Laisenia Qarase’s dismissal from office was unlawful and that a caretaker PM be appointed.Bainimarama confirmed he had visited the President this afternoon informing him of the court’s decision.“I, as commander of the RFMF will ensure there is no disruption to law and order. I assure that no such behaviour shall be tolerated,” Bainimarama said.He added that people should not be swayed by petty politics and opportunists who call themselves leaders.“We need leaders with vision and foresight,” he added.The Court of Appeal today ruled that Bainimarama’s appointment as interim PM on January 5, 2007 is unlawful under the Fiji Constitution.It also declared as unlawful, Qarase’s dismissal from office and the appointment of Dr Jona Senilagakali as caretaker PM, and the order by Bainimarama that Parliament be dissolved.

The appointment of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister on January 5, 2007 and his ministers by the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, was an unlawful act under the Fiji Constitution.The landmark ruling was handed down by the Fiji Court of Appeal today after ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and members of his deposed Government appealed an earlier High Court ruling that validated his dismissal from office and the dissolution of Parliament.Other declarations the court made today that were unlawful acts under the Constitution are:

• the assumption of executive authority and the declaration of a State of Emergency by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama;

• the dismissal of Laisenia Qarase from the office of Prime Minister and the appointment of Dr Jona Baravilala Senilagakali as caretaker PM;

• the advice that Parliament be dissolved by Dr Senilagakali;

• the order by Bainimarama that Parliament be dissolved; and

• the purported Ratification and Validation of the Declaration and decrees of the Fiji Military Government Decree of 16 January 2007, subsequently renamed as a Promulgation of the Interim Government of the Republic of Fiji, by which decree President Uluivuda purported to validate and confirm the dismissal of Qarase as Prime Minister of Fiji, the appointment of Dr Senilagakali as caretaker PM and the dissolution of Parliament.

The court also declared that in the events that have occurred, it would be lawful for the President acting pursuant to section 109 (2) of the Fiji Constitution, or as a matter of necessity, to appoint a caretaker PM to advise a dissolution of the Parliament and the issuance of writs for the election of members of the House of Representatives.

Election's best option: Appeals Court - Thursday, April 09, 2009

The judges who presided in the Fiji Court of Appeal case. PICTURES: Leca Vunibobo

THE "only appropriate course" of action for the country's political situation is "for elections to be held to enable Fiji to get a fresh start", says the Fiji Court of Appeal.
In its judgment on the appeal against the Qarase vs Bainimarama case, the court ruled invalid the decisions endorsed by the President to dissolve Parliament and appoint an interim prime minister. The appeals judges noted that while they were "not in a position to govern the exercise by the President of his discretion", a way forward was for the President to appoint "a distinguished person independent of the parties to this litigation as caretaker prime minister, to advise a dissolution of the Parliament, assuming it is not already dissolved, and to direct the issuance of writs for an election under section 60 of the Fiji Constitution".
"This would enable Fiji to be restored to democratic rule in accordance with the Fiji Constitution, and quash any arguments about the legitimacy of Mr Qarase's government or the Republic as currently constituted," the judges said in their ruling.
The three judges urged all the parties to the case to "co-operate".
They also noted that in recommending this course, they "are also fortified by the public statements of both the President and the Commander that the mandate of the interim Government was to uphold the Fiji Constitution and that the interim Government was anticipated to take the people smoothly to the next elections".

Court refuses stay on order against Govt


An application by Fiji’s interim Government to stay a court ruling that the removal of Laisenia Qarase’s administration is unlawful and that the President appoint a new caretaker Prime Minister, has been refused.Solicitor General Christopher Pryde made the application just moments after the Fiji Court of Appeal made its ruling in Suva this afternoon.The three judges have ruled that the President appoint an independent person as caretaker Prime Minister, who would then advise President to dissolve parliament and make way for elections.The court however ruled against the argument by Qarase’s lawyers that he be reinstated and that he advise the President to dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections, given the length of time since Qarase’s removal.But in his argument after being granted leave to appeal the judgement, Pryde said they disagreed with the findings of the court.He questioned how long it would take to appoint a caretaker PM and that “the President cannot just do that”.He said in the meantime, there will be a political vacuum and the Government needed to continue. But the judges said it was difficult to say whether a stay would make any difference.“The reality is that this country has a Constitution that everyone has to obey….That’s the judgement of the court and this Government should obey.”

Decision creates vacuum, says Fiji A-G


Fiji’s interim Attorney-General said the Court of Appeal had not recognised that its decision today for the President to appoint a caretaker Prime Minister on the way back to general elections would create a vacuum in the day-to-day running of the country.“There is a vacuum, because the court has not said that (ousted prime minister Laisenia) Qarase comes back as Prime Minister, the court has simply said that the President has to appoint a caretaker Prime Minister, a third party,” Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said outside court.“So there is a vacuum. That’s what we tried to impress upon the court that there is a vacuum, the State of Fiji needs to continue, people need to catch the bus, people are coming to this country, orders need to be signed, and there are various machinations of the country that is at stake. Unfortunately the court has not recognised this.”Sayed-Khaiyum said the government would be studying the court’s decision.“It is a fairly complex manner in which they have arrived to the decision. We obviously need time to study it, we have put the court on notice that we will be appealing the decision but you’ve also seen the second deck of orders that the discretion is up to the President in the appointment of a caretaker Prime Minister. We obviously will be appealing the ruling.”When asked if the interim government would be vacating office, he said: “We will have to see, we are filing an appeal, we will have to see our avenues of getting a stay on the order.”The Court of Appeal granted Solicitor-General Christopher Pryde leave to appeal its decision, moments after the decision was handed down.

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