The regime’s constitution is undemocratic, does not reflect the will of the people and will have to be amended by the new Parliament, says the Fiji Labour Party.
The FLP statement is in response to comments by Army Commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga, to Australian media that the RFMF would not tolerate re-writing of the 2013 constitution.
But FLP says the new constitution is not in the democratic interests of the people. It is self-serving, entrenches the status quo and concentrates power in the hands of just two people. All the repressive decrees that severely restrict people’s fundamental rights will continue in force under the new constitution.
This means that the civil, political, human and trade union rights embodied in the Bill of Rights are effectively derogated with the continued enforcement of the draconian decrees.
The authority and independence of the judiciary remains compromised as the Attorney General retains the powers to interfere and influence the appointments of judges, magistrates, the Chief Justice, the Solicitor General and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, is an essential requisite of a truly democratic set up, to ensure proper checks and balances. The 2013 constitution does not provide for this separation of powers. Nor does it ensure transparency and accountability .
It was clearly hand-crafted to ensure the current regime continues in office and as such contains several objectionable provisions that encroach on individual rights as provided for in various United Nations Human Rights conventions, in particular its International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The regime has tried to entrench these obnoxious provisions by requiring a 75% majority vote in parliament and a 75% endorsement in a referendum to amend provisions of the constitution. But parliament as the supreme law making body has the powers to initiate changes.
FLP calls on the Army to respect the will of the people and show support for a constitution for Fiji which is genuinely democratic, will ensure transparency and good governance and provide political stability.