FIJI's draft constitution has been released.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama released the draft document yesterday.
And instead of presenting the draft document to the Constituent Assembly, under the previous arrangement, he said it would be presented directly to the people.
He said the general public had until April 5 to provide feedback on the draft document.
"My fellow Fijians, you will be the new Constituent Assembly," he said last night.
Commodore Bainimarama said the constitutional process that he commenced with the Ghai Commission was modified.
This, he said, was done to ensure that the fundamental principles of parliamentary representation and efficient and transparent government were implemented through a forward-looking constitution.
He said next week government would hold a number of community forums at which members of the public and representatives of organisations could attend to ask government's legal team questions on any aspect of the draft constitution.
He said as seen through the constitutional submissions, many Fijians were concerned about their day-to-day living and access to better facilities and utilities.
Following these consultations and the general public's feedback, he said they would finalise the constitution to have it ready for implementation no later than April 12 this year.
Commodore Bainimarama said the draft constitution had rights to housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, adequate food and water and social security schemes.
Some of the highlights of the key components of the draft constitution are:
* Sovereign control to a single house in Parliament, which is represented by members elected by the people; and
* Parliament shall be made up of 45 representatives for a four-year term.
Commodore Bainimarama said some key components of the draft are:
* To attract good quality and honest parliamentarians who will be paid accordingly and who will not be corrupt;
* provide for not only civil and political rights, but also, a wide range of socio-economic rights.
* gives specific rights to persons with disabilities and to children;
* create a secular State where citizens are treated equally regardless of religion;
* has proportional representation through a multi member constituency which will give enhanced opportunities for women and the youth to be in Parliament;
* give more independence to the judiciary to control their own budget and finances as approved by Parliament. FICAC and the DPPs office shall control their own affairs;
* create a Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission to give protection to all citizens irrespective of their backgrounds or socio-economic status;
* create an independent Electoral Commission with appropriate powers; and
* gives people the right to change the constitution once implemented via a referendum.
Commodore Bainimarama, however, urged the general public to read the draft document which would be available in all government outlets.
"In assessing the draft, please understand that it has been put together by incorporating the positive aspects of the Ghai draft and with the view to withstand the test of time," he said.
"Constitutional, political and economic stability is critical to create a prosperous Fiji.