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Assembly will be all inclusive: PM

December 7, 2012 12:04 am

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, says the Constituent Assembly, he’ll appoint to review the new Constitution, will represent the broadest possible cross section of Fijian society.

But he stressed that its members will first need to demonstrate that they represent a significant constituency in the country.

Speaking at the opening of the 14th annual Attorney-General’s Conference at Natadola this morning, Bainimarama said Fijians couldn’t allow a narrow band of elite to again determine the country’s future, as had happened with previous constitutions.

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He said we have already had a handful of men determine what our constitution would be after independence, the 1990 Constitution was imposed with almost no consultation at all and the key recommendations of the Reeves Commission overturned by a joint parliamentary select committee.

Bainimarama added this won’t happen again.

He said the Constitutional Commission had traveled the length and breadth of the country to receive submissions from Fijians on their views of what should be included in the Constitution. Through this process, the views and opinions of Fijians who had been marginalised and sidelined in the past had been given a voice he added.

“The Constituent Assembly will consist of the broadest possible cross-section of Fijian society, as set out in the relevant decree. But to qualify as members of the Constituent Assembly, individuals and organisations will need to demonstrate that they represent a significant constituency in the country.

They must also be guided by a commitment to the interests of the nation and the Fijian people as a whole”, the Prime Minister added.

Under the Fiji Constitutional Process (Constitution Commission) Decree 2012, the Constitution Commission will formally present the draft constitution and the Explanatory Report to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on the first week of next month before the Constituent Assembly holds its first meeting on the second week of the same month.

The Decree also outlined that the work of the Constituent Assembly is to be completed at the latest by the end of the third week of March.

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