Fiji’s Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry says the constitution process is “fundamentally flawed and lacked credibility, integrity and legitimacy as sanctioned by Decrees 57 & 58”.
He made the comments while presenting the party’s preliminary submission to the constitution commission at Civic Centre in Suva today.
Chaudhry said, “The constitution commission is driven by the regime to achieve its own self-serving agenda as is evident from the various repugnant provisions in the two decrees promulgated on July 18, 2012.”
He said that it is manifestly clear that the process is not going to be inclusive, participatory or even credible because it has been unilaterally imposed on the people of Fiji without any consultation with their legitimate representative.
Chaudhry added that it was a stand FLP has maintained from the very beginning that the process back to democracy and constitutional rule should not be driven by the regime.
“We now submit that there is only one legitimate and credible way back to constitutional rule and that is to abide by the advice rendered in the decision of the Fiji Court of Appeal (FCA) on April 9 2009- Qarase vs Banimarama – Civil Appeal,” Chaudhry said.
According to Chaudhry, “the FCA judgment advised that a caretaker Prime Minister be appointed with the specific mandate to oversee the process of holding general elections and restoring constitutional rule within a realistic time frame.”
“We implore members of the Commission to carefully consider transitional arrangement to democratic rule and make adequate provision in the draft constitution for the same, including the appointment of a catetaker government to take charge of the process of returning Fiji to constitutionals rule via free, fair and credible elections.
“We also feel strongly that the members of the Commission must not regard themselves bound by those unethical provisions of Decrees 57 and 58 which they consider inhibit the proper discharge of their duties and responsibilities in accordance with their oath of office.”
The Labour Party plans to give in their full submissions early October.
When contacted on FLP's submission, commission chairman, Professor Yash Ghai said, "FLP members are like any citizens of Fiji and they have the right to raise issues that affect them".
By Indrani Krishna