Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday, August 24, welcomed the release by the Fiji Government of its draft constitution, which is expected to be formally promulgated on September 6.
Senator Carr said the draft constitution represented an important step forward for Fiji’s commitment to hold elections by September 2014.
“Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making credible steps towards a return to democracy,” Senator Carr said.
“We’ve provided $2.65 million to support development of Fiji’s electoral processes and will continue consultations with other donors and the Fiji authorities to identify further needs.”
Senator Carr said Australia would continue to encourage a constitutional process which results in a credible election, including through an independent elections office participation by political parties and civil society freedom of expression and assembly independent elections observation general acceptance of the election outcome by the people of Fiji.
Fiji’s interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, released Fiji’s new Constitution on August 22. The interim government has invited the public to “provide feedback on the accuracy of translations” of the Constitution into vernacular dialects until September 6, when President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will assent to the Constitution.
The draft Fiji Constitution includes:
Provision for a single-chamber Parliament of 50 members, elected on the basis of one person, one vote.
Elections to be held every four years, with the interim government reiterating its promise to hold elections by 30 September 2014 Suffrage for all Fijians over the age of 18, under a proportional representation system.
Individual regional constituencies to be abolished and replaced with one national constituency covering the whole of Fiji, as in The Netherlands and Israel.
A Prime Minister who commands the party with the most seats in Parliament to head the elected Government;
In line with current practice, a President as Head of State, who will also perform the ceremonial function of Commander in Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.