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Fiji Time: 7:06 PM on Monday 21 April

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Return of executive authority failed to legitimise regime: Naidu

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

THE return of power by military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo does not legitimise the State of Emergency or the interim Cabinet, said lawyer Richard Naidu.

"Just because we have the same President we had before and everyone is saying "we are following the Constitution" does not make any of this constitutional," he said.

"In life, if something looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck. In law, something that looks like a government and quacks like a government isn't always a government," Mr Naidu said.

He said if the Constitution had been followed all along, then where was the constitutional Vice-President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.

Ratu Joni had told The Fiji Times last week that he was on leave and would start work at Howards Law, where he practised prior to his appointment by the Great Council of Chiefs as Vice President. He refused to reveal reasons behind his decision to resign as Vice President.

Mr Naidu said the President could only appoint interim Cabinet ministers under the Constitution on the advice of a Prime Minister "who has the confidence of Parliament".

He said the court must clarify the "law" as it stood today so "we can move forward".