PM, ministers to remain until government picked

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Fiji's Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem after the writ of elections was issued yesterday at GPH, Suva. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

DURING this time, and as under democratic norms, it is expected that Government will not operate as ‘business as usual’ until the next government is decided.

That’s the view of University of the South Pacific academic Professor Neelesh Gounder after the issuance of the Writ for the 2018 General Election by President Jioji Konrote at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

Dr Gounder said the 2013 Constitution stated that upon dissolution of Parliament, the Prime Minister, other ministers and the leader of the Opposition stayed in office until the appointment of the next prime minister.

However, when Parliament was dissolved on Sunday, every seat in parliament was now vacant.

There are no members of parliament, but he said the Prime Minister and other ministers would continue in office until the next prime minister assumed office after the general election.

“Since ministers remain in office, they will have access to motor vehicles, expertise, confidential papers and departmental resources such as phones and computers,” Dr Gounder said.

“At the same time, these ministers will also be campaigning in their role as politicians seeking election.

“The caretaker mode convention is there to ensure that political party activities do not take place through the offices of the government ministries to avoid use of State resources for campaigning.

“The members of parliament lose all privileges associated with being a member of parliament.

“Parliament and government are two distinct institutions. There would be no parliament but the government will maintain its responsibility to run the country,” he added.

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