There is a disparity in the term of President and Vice President under the interim regime’s New Legal Order, giving credibility to reports that the position is tailor made for military dictator Frank Bainimarama.
The Office of the Vice President And Succession Decree (Decree 8) states the President appoints a Vice President for a term of five years, and shall be eligible for re-appointment.
The Executive Authority of Fiji (Amendment) Decree (Decree 28) sates the President is appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of the interim Cabinet.
The President’s term of office is for three years and the successful candidate is eligible for re-appointment.
The current Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau’s five year term will end in April 2014 if he remains VP. The President’s term, if appointed this year, will end in 2012 – two years before the VP.
Sources say Bainimarama’s comment that there is no rush to appoint a President after Ratu Josefa Iloilo was retired at the end of last month, and the fact that the terms of President and Vice-President are different, means the military dictator has eyed Government House.
If he becomes President, Bainimarama will become Head of State and Commander in Chief of the army. To neutralize his potential challengers in the army, Bainimarama could appoint another senior officer as army commander to succeed him and a new in interim PM, knowing he would be fully in control from Government House.