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Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs restored in 100 days under SODELPA - Rabuka
4:04 pm GMT+12, 18/10/2018, Fiji

Fiji's Sitiveni Rabuka says he will bring back Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs within 100 days if his party gets into power in the November election.
 
The leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party said consideration would also be given to bringing back an upper house and geographical and ethnic constituencies.
 
The former prime minister and 1987 coup leader made the comments during an interview with local broadcaster Viti FM on Thursday evening.
 
Frank Bainimarama's military led government which took power in 2006 abolished the long-established Great Council of Chiefs in 2012.
 
It also radically changed the electoral system under a new constitution, doing away with constituencies and communal voting.
 
Rabuka said changes to the electoral system would have to be discussed in a big national forum if his party came to power.
 
Rabuka could yet be disqualified from running in the election if he is convicted following his trial this week in Suva.
 
He is charged with making a false declaration of his assets and liabilities to the Supervisor of Elections and breaching a bail condition.
 
He has pleaded not guilty but said if he is disqualified he would still be able to help fight SODELPA's election campaign.
 
Rabuka said if the party's successful, the constitutional changes required to bring in any electoral changes would be dealt with by the courts.
 
He dismissed the 2013 constitution saying it had been imposed on the people.
 
“Once we get into government we will have a lot of tribunals and summits where we need to continue to relook, re evaluate, review some of the polices and directions we are taking,” Rabuka said.
 
“We cannot just ignore the past. We have to embrace our past, deal with the present and envison what the future will be like.”
 
Rabuka said SODELPA would also raise the retirement age for civil servants from 55 to 60.
 
He said another priority would be to stop the equal distribution of indigenous land lease money, a change brought in by the Bainimarama government.
 
“As long as you have villages and mataqali in the rural areas we must continue to give out the lease money according to our customs and traditions,” he said.
 
Rabuka said he was fine with everybody being called “Fijian” whatever their ethnicity.
 
He said his party is still open to a coalition with other parties including the ruling FijiFirst party.
 
But he said SODELPA could only work with Bainimarama's party if SODELPA was the senior partner as the two parties were too different.....

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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