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Fiji coup leader dismisses vice president

Bainimarama dismissed the country's vice president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, after taking control of the country.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 17:37 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Fiji's military commander Frank Bainimarama dismissed the country's vice president Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi on Wednesday after taking control of the country, local media reports said.

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni confirmed the dismissal, Fiji TV reported.

On Tuesday, while announcing he was taking over the government, Bainimarama criticised Madraiwiwi for putting "undue pressure" on President Ratu Josefa Iloilo during the stand-off between the government and military, which led to Tuesday's coup.

The Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), a body of indigenous leaders which has the power to appoint the president and vice president, condemned the sacking.

The GCC's chairman Ratu Ovini Bokini said the dismissal was "illegal, unconstitutional and most disrespectful". Madraiwiwi is a high ranking chief and a former High Court judge.

The aged and ailing president, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was seen as weak in trying to reign in Bainimarama in the lead-up to the coup.

Madraiwiwi had reportedly been more insistent that the military operate within the constitution.

First Published: Dec 06, 2006 17:37 IST