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Indo-Fijians hail president's return

Party leaders Chaudhry and Rae welcome the reappointment of Ratu Iloilo.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 12:18 IST

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry and National Federation Party secretary general Pramod Rae have welcomed the reappointment of Ratu Josefa Iloilo and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as president and vice-president of Fiji, respectively.

The country's Great Council of Chiefs announced the reappointments after a meeting in Suva March 8.

Chaudhry said it was a sign that the chiefs had put the nation's long-term stability ahead of any particular confederate agenda, according to a report in the Fiji Times newspaper.

"The preservation of the status quo, with respect to the election of the president and the vice-president will inspire confidence and certainty and provide much-needed political stability after the election," the report quoted him as saying.

The report quoted Rae as saying that the move showed the confidence of the people in the duo.

The two will serve for the next five years. However, it is Ratu Josefa's last five-year term as he has already completed one.

Like India, the role of the president in Fiji is largely an honorary one. However, the post carries certain "reserve powers" that may be used in the event of a national crisis. The president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

This time, though there were some differences in the choice of candidates among the three confederacies of Kubuna, Tovata and Burebasaga, a consensus was reached among the chiefs who rallied behind the two chiefs.

In the end, both appointments by the three confederacies were unanimously agreed to, the report quoted Council secretary-general Asesela Sadole as saying.

Indo-Fijians constitute around 43 percent of Fiji's total population of over 890,000.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 12:18 IST