Thursday, November 19, 2009

1997 Constitution to be Revived: Illegal Fiji PM

Parts of Fiji’s abrogated 1997 Constitution dealing with the rule of law, the judiciary, human rights and democratic principles will be resurrected by decree, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has told officials of the European Commission.

At a meeting in Brussels with the EC’s Director General for Development, Stefano Manservisi and his advisors, Bainimarama assured them of government’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, the strengthening of the judiciary, respect for human rights and respect for democratic principles, a government statement said.

He said this commitment was evident in the decreeing of new legislations “and the resurrection by decree of those essential elements of the abrogated constitution dealing with such matters”.

Bainimarama was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, his permanent secretary Solo Mara and Fiji’s ambassador to the EU, Peceli Vocea.

The meeting was to exchange views on major issues that will form the basis for resuming formal consultations under the provision of Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, the statement said.

“Government believes that this informal meeting can now be taken to another level leading to the resumption of formal “consultations”, an objective of which is to review the agreement signed in October 2007 between the European Union and Fiji on the political situation in Fiji,” it said.
Bainimarama briefed the EC officials on the programs of institutional, judicial, constitutional and electoral reforms that are in place to begin in 2010 and in subsequent years and the reasons for these reforms.

The two sides also discussed issues pertaining to the Strategic Framework for Change, the National Dialogue Forum and the Public Emergency Regulation, enforced soon after the 1997 Constitution was abrogated in April.
Senior EC and Fiji government officials will now follow-up on the major outcomes of the discussion with the aim of ultimately resuming formal consultations between the two sides, said the government statement

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