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Fiji Time: 1:56 PM on Saturday 20 September

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Chaudhry: No surprise

Saturday, January 06, 2007

THE appointment of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister came as no surprise to Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

He said he had been expecting the appointment, which he thought would have been made after the handing over of executive power to the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, on Thursday.

Mr Chaudhry said there was nothing to said or done about Commodore Bainimarama's appointment.

"He has been appointed and nothing can be done about it now," he said.

He said it would be difficult to have two key roles as commander and interim Prime Minister given that a lot of work needed to done after years of neglect by past governments.

The Fiji Labour Party had earlier welcomed the commander's decision to hand back power to the President.

"The Labour party endorses the mandate given to the interim civilian administration which includes the introduction of provisions for a code of conduct for holders of public office, freedom of information and the setting up of an anti corruption unit," he said.

Mr Chaudhry said the specific mandate to help lift the living standards of the poor and the under privilege in society would need to be vigorously implemented to reduce the high level of poverty among the people.

"All in all, the mandate provides for good governance. At the same time, we would like to caution against opportunists who may try to take advantage of the situation.

The National Federation Party said it would be best for the commander to hold only one post. NFP general secretary Pramod Rae said: "It would be a difficult task for a person to do both jobs considering the magnitude of work that both involve.

"They are two different functions which will need different strategies and functions," Mr Rae said.

"However we shall see how it goes and how he will manage. It will also depend on the interim government he is going to form.

"The running of the government will depend on the calibre of people he has eyed to do the job," he said.

Mr Rae said it was expected someone from the military would assume the Prime Minister's position given Thursday's developments.


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