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September 05, 2013 01:07:20 PM
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Fiji’s new Constitution will come into effect after the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau assents the document tomorrow at Government House.

The significant event which will officially begin at 3.30pm will be televised live on TV stations and will be streamlined live online.  

The much awaited document has been widely accepted by most Pacific leaders despite criticism from the three Political Parties.

The 98-page constitutional document for the first time has been translated into the two main vernacular languages - i’Taukei and contemporary Hindi.

The document is expected to take Fiji forward towards next year’s September election and changes made include the single chamber 50-member Parliament – up from 45 in the Draft document- which will be the country’s supreme authority and be elected on the basis of one person, one vote, one value.

Elections are to be held every four years and every Fijian over the age of 18 is entitled to vote and all individual regional constituencies have been abolished.

There will now after tomorrow be one national constituency covering the whole of Fiji, as in The Netherlands and Israel. And every voter will get one vote, choosing the candidate who they believe best serves their interests under a proportional representation system.

Some of the issues among the Constitution’s major provisions the common and equal citizenry, a voting system of equal votes of equal value, a secular state and religious liberty, an independent and impartial judiciary and equal access to the law, the right to legal aid assistance.

There are also specific protection of the ownership of I’Taukei and Rotuman lands and recognition of their unique culture, customs, traditions and language, the protection of the rights of leaseholders and specific recognition of the culture and language of Indo-Fijians, other Pacific islanders and other immigrants and settlers.

By Mereani Gonedua


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