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Saturday, March 10, 2012
Former PMs: Consultation ignores stakeholders and issue of military
Deposed prime ministers Mahendra Chaudhry and Laisenia Qarase say the regime is trying to impose its own road map on the consultation process for its Constitution.
Both say appointments to the Constitution Commission and the Constituent Assembly should have been made after the consultations, and left to key stakeholders.
Frank Bainimarama yesterday named a former deputy prime minister, Taufa Vakatale, and academics Satendra Nandan and Yash Ghai as Commission members with Ghai chair.
Qarase, who was removed by Bainimarama in the 2006 coup, says a Constitutional Forum made up of political parties, church leaders and NGOs should've been formed first and the group allowed to make the decisions.
He says the 1997 Constitution still exists and elections could easily be held before the year is out and consultations take place after that.
Chaudhry, who was deposed in the George Speight coup in 2000, agrees the process is too long adding the regime's plan replicates that of the Reeves Commission for the 1997 Constitution.
He says there's no need to scrap the Constitution just because previous governments ignored it, especially the provisions for Code of Conduct and Freedom of Information legislation.
Chaudhry questioned how many of the fundamental values Bainimarama is insisting on for the Constitution are being upheld by the regime and asked why the role of military has been left off the list of essential issues.