Official Release on Constituent Assembly
MEDIA RELEASE: PM SAYS CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY MEMBERS MUST HAVE WIDESPREAD COMMUNITY SUPPORT
The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, says the Constituent Assembly, he will 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-Generals Conference at Natadola, the Prime Minister said Fijians could not allow a narrow band of elite to again determine the country’s future, as had happened with previous constitutions.
“We have already had a handful of men determine what our constitution would be after independence, we have already had the 1990 Constitution imposed with almost no consultation at all, and we have already had the key recommendations of the Reeves Commission overturned by a joint parliamentary select committee. This will not happen again”, he said.
The Prime Minister 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.
“Once completed, the draft constitution will be submitted to the President, who will then refer it to the Constituent Assembly to review and make any amendments it believes are appropriate.”
“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.