Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quick Hit: Fiji

Less than 24 hours after a Fiji court declared the country’s military backed government to be unconstitutional, Fiji’s president has voided the country’s constitution, made himself head of state and dismissed the country’s judiciary.

The issue stems from a Thursday, April 9 court ruling stating the military leader Frank Bainimarama came to power illegally in December 2006 when he dissolved Parliament and ousted the government of Laisenia Qarase. Later that day, Bainimarama said he would step down and allow the President to appoint a caretaker government as ordered by the three judges.

Speaking to the nation mid-morning Friday, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo said he was incapable of following the Court of Appeal’s ruling to appoint a caretaker government because the constitution provided him no powers to do so. Because a country cannot survive without a standing government, he was forced to take over the government and will appoint an interim Prime Minister in the next few days. In perhaps his biggest surprise, the President said this interim body will rule Fiji until elections can be held in five years time, no later than September 2014.

Well, damn. I don't know whether to hope they make it hte five years to election time without another coup or to hope for a coup on schedule--there have been four since 1997.

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