THE Great Council of Chiefs will have a less prominent role under a new constitution, says Constitution Commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai.
He said the GCC issue would be discussed extensively by the commission before the final drafting of the constitution.
"The GCC issue is more complicated than the separation of State and religion issue," said Prof Ghai.
"I think the question of the GCC would depend very much on the approach taken in the constitution.
"If you take an approach which says the important consideration in the rights of citizens and their equal rights and if you say that the electoral system should promote political integration among different communities and national unity then you have a very different approach to the ones we have had in the previous constitution. And in this new approach there would not be much of a role for chiefs at the national level."
Prof Ghai said the reduced functions of the GCC would not prevent chiefs from forming an association and dealing with issues relating to the iTaukei people.
"They will still have rules in their own communities but each community will have their own system of chiefs and there will be less need for a council of chiefs.
"Of course, there's nothing to prevent chiefs from forming an association to discuss problems and that will be allowed and there will be no prohibition on that.
"I think the exact role of the council of chiefs will depend on the ultimate approach that is taken initially by us and then the Constituent Assembly as to how much we want political integration across races and we want a non-racial Fiji, so it depends on the vision of Fiji that emerges.
"At the moment it's difficult to say because we have received very diverse views — some have expressed support for a non-racial Fiji while others have supported communities still being separated as before and separate election seats and even separate schools. So we'll look seriously into this issue based on the submissions being made before making our final recommendation."