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President re-elected as SODELPA explain walkout

August 30, 2018 9:30 pm

Major General (ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote has been re-appointed as the President of Fiji for another term.

He was appointed to a three-year term without any opposition as SODELPA members walked out of parliament without making any nomination from their side as stipulated in the constitution.

Before the nomination was made by Prime Minsiter Voreqe Bainimarama, a point of order was raised by Opposition MP Semesa Karavaki.

Karavaki while quoting section 84 of the Constitution highlighted that there is no vacancy yet for the Presidents post and that they are still in a premature stage.

“We are not in a constitutional crisis where there is no other way that under the doctrine of necessity we can do things to put into place proper governance of the nation. There is still alternatives for the government to follow which will lead into the issue of the writ of elections. Because we are not in a constitutional crisis and because there is no vacancy as yet – our position Madam Speaker is that we should not be in this position to come in and to put in process the appointment of a president when the vacancy has not arisen yet.”

In response Speaker of the House Dr Jiko Luveni clarified the business committee was informed about the special sitting.

Dr Luveni also said the committee did not require any discussion or deliberation as it was not a motion but rather a nomination.

“In many instances communication to the members of the Business Committee for fly in minutes and this mode was acceptable to all members as I have never received any concerns pertaining to this mode. Additionally the reference to the 48 hours notification is a non-issue. I reiterate that as Speaker of the Parliament I am guided by the provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders and Honorable members are aware that timelines stipulated under the Standing Order apply only to the submission of questions, petitions, motions, end of week statements, ministerial statements, and distribution of order papers but clearly do not apply to notifications to members of the business committee and members of parliament. With the dissolution of parliament nearing, the General Election around the corner and the near expire of the term of His Excellency the President, it was prudent to call for special sitting of the parliament to ensure that all these important events are undertaken without any complications. I therefore rule that the provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders have been complied with accordingly and therefore the powers of the Business Committee have not been usurped in anyway.”

Meanwhile, SODELPA say they walked out of parliament because the proposed appointment of the President not been done in the right manner and it is considered illegal.

Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa claim the appointment can have major impact on the upcoming elections.

Kepa says important issues such as the appointment of the President should be referred to the Supreme Court of Fiji for interpretation.

The National Federation Party members remained throughout the session.

The parliament has been adjourned sine die.