Coats of Arms Fiji Government
www.fiji.gov.fj
fiji flag
Press Releases & News BriefsSpeeches & FeaturesMinistries & DepartmentsCurrent EventGovernment Web LinksGovernment DirectoryAbout Fiji & Fiji FAQ's

QUICK LINKS
Home
Search
Sitemap
Feedback
Contact

Speeches

President's Address to the Nation
Apr 10, 2009, 13:30
Email this page
Printer friendly page

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE FIJI ISLANDS
H.E RATU JOESFA ILOILOVATU ULUIVUDA,CF,MBE.KStJ,MSD,JP

Government House Friday 10th April 2009



Ni sa Bula Vinaka and a good morning to you Ladies, Gentlemen and all our citizens

You may recall that I spoke to you in early January 2007 after the Executive Authority was returned to me after the event of 5 December 2006.

I subsequently appointed an interim prime minister and his cabinet and gave them a mandate to adhere to. That interim government has been in existence for over two years now. It has, I believe, given the circumstances performed extremely well.

It has brought about reforms. It has created opportunities for new ideas. It has adhered to my mandate. It has had a positive impact on the lives of our people in particular the ordinary citizens of our country, including those in the rural areas.


There was, as you are aware a legal action by the former Prime Minister Mr. Laisenia Qarase challenging the validity of the appointment by me of the Interim Government.

The 3 member panel of the High Court held that I had the prerogative powers that allowed me, to validly and legally to appoint an interim government for the good of the people of Fiji.

Mr Qarase appealed that decision of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal yesterday afternoon at 3pm held that the appointment of the Interim Government by me was invalid since the 1997 constitution did not give me express written powers to do so.

The Court of Appeal also held that I should exercise my discretion and appoint a caretaker prime minister but that person the court said cannot be Mr Qarase or Commodore Bainimarama. Immediately after the ruling the state lawyers notifies the court that they would appeal the decision but pending hearing of the appeal they wanted a stay on the judgement. The court refused to grant the stay.

I note with interest that the Court of Appeal has said that the appointment if the Interim Government is invalid because it was not in accordance with the Constitution as I had no express written powers to appoint it. The court however has said that I should appoint a third person as the caretaker prime minister when there is no written provision in the Constitution for appointing such a third party.


The end result of all this is that Fiji has not, in practical legal terms, had a government in place since 3 pm yesterday afternoon.

My fellow citizens you cannot have a country without a Government. The machinery of the State like any other country needs to be in place all the time.

As you are all aware I have endorse the Peoples Charter for Peace Change and progress following, the public consultations and its recommendation by the NCBBF.

Sixty four percent of the population of Fiji through the public consultations have said that they want electoral reforms amongst other reforms.

We also as you are aware have had three Political Parties Meeting which only yesterday agreed to the mechanism which will now allow the UN and Commonwealth to mediate the PPDF process.

I also observe that Fiji has since 5 January 2007 moved at a very rapid pace by way of new institutions, ideas, and changes in the different economic sectors. Of course the economic challenges posed by the global economic financial crisis has made it even more imperative that all citizens of our country focus as one nation.

With all of this as the background and following consultations with the Commander of the RFMF, I have decided that we must once and for all and in a decisive manner, map out a smooth path to holding parliamentary elections based on the electoral reforms and other reforms as set out under the Charter.

To facilitate the holding of true democratic and parliamentary elections I hereby abrogate the 1997 Constitution.


With this abrogation I appoint myself as the Head of the State of Fiji under a new legal order. To effect the abrogation I decree the following:

• Abrogation of the 1997 Constitution
• Appointment of the Head of State
• Continuation of Existing Laws; and
• Revocation of Appointment of All Judicial Officers

I shall be making further decrees in the days to come.

Through the Revocation of Appointment of Judicial Officers Decree, all judicial appointments are no longer in place.

New judicial appointments will need to be made for all judges, magistrates and other judicial officers. In this respect I shall be inviting suitable individuals over the next few days to join the bench under the new legal order.

Let me assure all of you that the basic human rights of all citizens shall be protected in the new legal order. Let me also assure you that I have the full support of all our security forces.

I have in this respect directed the Commander of RFMF and other security agencies to take all reasonable steps to ensure the maintenance of people, law and order.

You will agree that this is the best way forward for our beloved Fiji. It not only gives certainty but provides stability and the opportunity to carry out reforms which are crucial before true democratic elections can be held. In this respect I believe that a period of 5 years is necessary for an interim government to put into place the necessary reforms and processes.

I shall also direct the soon to be appointed Interim Government to hold true democratic and parliamentary elections by September 2014 at the latest. I am sure you will all work together with me and the soon to be appointed interim government to ensure that the this transition to a new legal order is not only smooth but will reap many benefits for us and the future generations and resolve many of our long outstanding and systematic problems.

I shall announce a new cabinet and other institutional appointments over the next few days.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Easter.

May God Bless Fiji.


-------------

Top of Page


SEARCH



Advanced Search
Latest Speeches
PM's Speech to Chinese Business Delegation
Opening of the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services Complex - PM Bainimarama
Launch of the 2009 TFL Prime Minister's Exporter of the Year Awards - Sayed-Khaiyum
Statement by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama on the retirement of His Excellency the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda
Dr Sharma - Address at the presentation of the Bachelor of Public Health Nursing Program
Home PageSearchSitemapFeedbackContact