Statement by Fiji's interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama
This afternoon I visited His Excellency, our President Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda at Government House. He informed me that he would be retiring as President of the Republic of Fiji after taking leave, which he will take from Thursday, 30 July 2009.
This is a truly significant event, the symbolic passing of the torch from a statesman who has made a tremendous contribution to the Nation and to the lives of all Fijians.
Under His Excellency Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda’s passionate and persistent leadership, the people of Fiji have come together to fully participate and contribute constructively to the People’s Charter initiative. His Excellency has served Fiji with fortitude and strength.
The People’s Charter initiative originated from and is an integral part of His Excellency’s mandate given to the Government to move the country forward. Were it not for His Excellency’s undying fervor and commitment to correct the injustices of the past, it is unlikely that there would have been such a groundswell of compassion and enthusiasm to implement major reforms.
The people of Fiji have tremendous respect for His Excellency Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda. They know him as a compassionate leader and a true Chief. His Excellency has reached out to Government, businesses and individuals to build strong partnerships between all different sectional interests in Fiji, partnerships that make a real difference to the lives of us all.
His Excellency is retiring from his role as President of the Republic of Fiji, but we will all continue to benefit from his lifetime of dedication to service and demonstrated strong leadership of the country throughout difficult and challenging times.
We are confident His Excellency will continue to be actively involved in important issues for our country, and we thank His Excellency for his invaluable contribution to Fiji.
The Vice President shall perform the functions of the President until a substantive appointment is made by the Chief Justice upon the advice and nomination of the Cabinet.