Vital Issues on Constitution Reform: the President

The extent of the President's powers have been legally challenged twice  since 2006. The big question is should the President be the head of state with limited powers as under the 1997 Constitution; with powers a little broader than the 1997 Constitution, or should he or she be the head of government with real powers similar to President Obama?

The next question is should the President be appointed following discussions between the Prime Minister and Leader of Oppostion; or elected by all members of Parliament; or appointed by a small Council of respected citizens (appointed by the PM or some other means);  or should the President be elected by the people?

 Either way, should the President be the Commander-in-Chief of the RFMF?

How long should the President be appointed or elected for?

Comments

Anonymous said…
It is important that the Presidents office is not a politician or political appointee from a single party. If you want a non-political, independent President, who can be respected by the whole country, the only way is to get someone that the major parties can agree on. So I think that the Prime Minister and opposition should agree on a candidate, which would then need to be approved by a 75% majority of the parliament. The term should be for longer than the term of the parliament (6-8 years maybe), so that the opposition knows they will have the same President if they win the next election. The parliament should also be able to dismiss the President again by a 75% majority. His powers should be mostly ceremonial, but he should also have powers to dismiss a government in times of crisis/emergency and call for new elections. Defining what is an emergency will be critical though.

Do not fall for the mistake of having an election for a President. Some people feel that they don’t trust politicians so don’t trust them to pick a good President, so want to vote for one instead. But if this happens the person elected could only end up coming from one of the major parties and will just be a politician. They would also undermine the position of Prime Minister.
Swela said…
From what I have seen so far, this question seems a bit far fetched. Constitutional consultations have just been cancelled without any reason and the chances that we are heading towards democracy appear to be slim indeed.

Instead of hiring spin doctors out of the US (what do these people know about Fiji?) it would be a good time to send some believable message to the residents of Fiji and the international community. And one of these steps would be an inclusive unity government charged with the preparation of elections and handling the constitutional reform process. But don't hold your breath.
Same please said…
The president should be a former head of the military and be appointed by the PM to rubber stamp new laws. The PM should be appointed by the military and be the head of the military. Opposition should be able to make the occasional speech here and there as long as it is in support of governments ideas. That way Fiji will continue along the wonderful path it has taken for the last five years.
Yea said…
Croz, I suspect what think of as consultation and what the government regard as consultation may be miles apart. The consultation on the fnpf changes was them telling us what they had already decided. The consultation on the charter was them telling us what has been decided and then afterwards when it didn't suit they ignored what had been decided anyway (eg constitution being the rule of law). When ever the ne constitution is mentioned it is in terms of refi it's that must be Chang and included. Sunds like minds are already made up to me.
Delusion of Grandeur said…
Bula Cros, I forgot to add that the PM must only serve two terms & this should apply to all elelcted members of parliament especially if we are going to continue with the 5 years of service. In my experience a member of parliament after 10years of service has passed their expiry date. Vinaka

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