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Martial Law Maybe Reimposed
21 July 2000
Origin -- Pasifik Nius
Suva: The French News Agency AFP says the Fiji military is on the verge of sacking the new president and reimposing martial law in a bid to fill a worsening political vacuum, Radio New Zealand International reported today.
Quoting political sources, it says the action is seen as likely because the newly named President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, is insisting that representatives of coup leader George Speight have a more prominent role in the interim government.
The warning comes as rebel leader George Speight's supporters held talks with the president on the makeup of a new administration which is supposed to guide Fiji back to democracy.
An interim administration headed by a military backed prime minister Laisenia Qarase, and including only a handful of Speight allies, had been due to take office on Wednesday. But the swearing in ceremony was cancelled at the last minute after Ratu Josefa failed to turn up. Qarase said the new president was ill disposed while Speight supporters threatened to set ablaze the Parliament if the swearing in went ahead. Speight has also accused the military of failing to honour the Muanikau accord which led to the release of the last 31 hostages.
The Fiji Times today reported that the deposed People's Coalition Government was "still alive" and it was up to the citizens of Fiji to decide on this. This was the stand taken by members of the elected Mahendra Chaudhry government overthrown by the May 19 attempted coup when they met in Sorokoba Village, Ba, in the west of Fiji yesterday. "As far as we are concerned, we are still in business," ousted parliamentarian Krishna Datt said."The fact of the matter is that we met here today and our government is still there."