|Nazhat Shameem: heading Assembly?|
Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, has told FBC News more than 100 people have put their names forward for the assembly.
Tikoduadua reiterated that the Assembly will be handpicked by Frank Bainimarama.
“The numbers will be determined by him. I think there is a fair idea what that will be. It will not be too small or too many but it will be a fair representation of what the society is."
According to the Constitution Commission, the Assembly is supposed to start its work of debating and adopting the draft Constitution in the second week of this month and finish by the third week of March.
With such a deadline, the regime will have already decided who will have the crucial say on whether the draft presented to the illegal president by Yash Ghai will go through as it is or be altered dramatically.
From comments made by land force commander, Mosese Tikoitoga, the suggested National Peoples Assembly has already been rejected.
|Chandu Umrai: tipped for Assembly|
|Attar Singh: release draft.|
Former high court judge, Nazhat Shameem, was tipped weeks ago to head the Assembly with the regime clearly wanting a trusted ally to drive the final debate.
Those who were sidelined early include the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, who would not have qualified under the honesty and integrity requirements because of pending charges under the Exchange Control Act.
Coupfourpointfive understands political parties fronted expressions of interests but Mick Beddoes of the United Peoples Party opted not to.
Reaction to latest developments:
New Zealand contributed $500,000 to the cost of submissions being heard and a Constitution being drafted. It's Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, who was widely criticised several months back for rushing to thaw relations with Fiji, now says he is concerned soldier's seized copies of the Constitution and burnt them. Stating the obvious, McCully says it is vital soldiers return to the barracks after the 2014 election and become a normal army.
The FICTU trade union says much of its submission to the Commission has been included in the draft.
General secretary, Attar Singh, says: "If the reports on the draft Constitution are correct then we could see an end to draconian labour decrees and practices that continue to violate worker and trade union rights despite our protests and complaints to the ILO which has found in our favour. It will result in restoring worker dignity and respect and clear the path for collective bargaining, access to tribunals for justice and to picket, demonstrate and strike.
"We welcome such draft and look forward its adoption without change by the Constituent Assembly as the basis for our democracy."
|Murray McCully (right): now stating the obvious - army must return to barracks.|