Friday, January 11, 2013

Fiji: So much for the constitution

Fiji's military regime appears to have been taking lessons from Judith Collins. First, they commissioned an internationally renowned expert to draft them a new constitution. Now, they've chucked the entire thing out because they didn't like the results:

Fiji's military dictatorship has slammed a draft constitution drawn up with New Zealand aid as an appeasement to racist divisions in the Pacific nation.

But military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama, who rules Fiji by decree, told the nation on Thursday night there will be a new constitution – and democracy restoring elections next year.

But while Bainimarama smears the new constitution as promoting racial division, the draft (which is only available because it has been leaked on the internet) delivers exactly the electoral system that he wanted: a single national electoral roll, with seats allocated by proportional representation. The real problem seems to be the one highlighted earlier in the week: that the new constitution sees no role for the military in government, and seeks to make it subservient to an elected, legitimate Parliament. The fact that this is now considered unacceptable by Fiji's military shows us exactly why things need to change.