Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fiji: the judgement

FijiLive has a bad scan of the judgement here [PDF]. Unfortunately, a small part of it is illegible, but the core is:

  • Any prerogative power of the President to ignore the constitution in an emergency (a key part of the High Court judgement) was extinguished by the 1997 constitution;
  • the decisions purporting to dismiss Qarase and his Cabinet and dissolve Parliament were therefore unlawful;
  • despite that, it is not clear whether Qarase is still Prime Minister or not;
  • elections would provide a "clean start" and are the best way forward;
  • the President can only act on advice, and so needs to appoint a caretaker Prime Minister to advise him to formally dissolve Parliament and call elections;
  • that person should be independent of both parties.
It's a solid victory for the rule of law and for the constitution, and a serious defeat for the military thugs and their pet judges on the High Court. The question now is whether Bainimarama will accept it.