THE disbanded Great Council of Chiefs must be reinstated and supported, says Social Democratic Liberal Party candidate Nirmal Singh.
Mr Singh says the GCC, the vanua and the church are the three pillars of identity for indigenous people.
"In fact, GCC is the core foundation of their culture and identity.
"It has immense authority and holds indigenous people together and provides cohesion and direction in times of need," he said.
"You take away the GCC, the indigenous people become rudderless and lose their sense of identity.
"I think like all other institutions, the GCC should change with time and keep pace with the demands of the future generations.
"You just cannot abolish an institution which is the root of indigenous identity," he said.
"Frankly, it is no longer an indigenous institution but a national institution."
Mr Singh also said the September election was not only about restoring democracy to the country but about empowering people from all walks of life.
He said the election was about ensuring women and youths were an integral part of Fiji's decision-making process, adding they must be part of taking Fiji into the future.
"This election is about freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom to choose.
"It is about freedom of our media because it's the level of freedom of the media that determines the strength of our democracy.
"It's all about our liberty and God-given rights that are unalienable.
"It is incumbent upon all of us to allow free discussions, debate, dissent and freedom to choose whichever party the voter decides to vote.
"Let us all join hands and move forward as a united nation and let's do so with love and compassion.
"Let's respect the people's mandate and rally behind those chosen to lead us.
"Let's make the process easy, peaceful and let's prepare to celebrate our future.
"Let us be role models for our younger generation."