INDEPENDENT NEWS

Military regime agrees to some Speight nominees

Published: Mon 19 Jun 2000 09:29 AM
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SUVA: Fiji's military regime says it will include some people nominated by rebel leader George Speight in a civilian interim government, according to media reports.
The Sunday Post said today the military had agreed in part to a list of 20 names submitted by Speight while the Sunday Sun said some of the Speight-nominated people would be included in the government.
"We received a list from Mr Speight's group and we find some of the names agreeable to us and we would include them in the list recommended to the Great Council of Chiefs," military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini said in a media briefing.
Speight's name was not on the list but Tarakinikini would not elaborate on the names received, the Sunday Post said.
Tarakinikini was quoted as saying that the names agreed to were people with "no political affiliation and with proper standing in society".
Rebel media spokesman Jo Nata also would not reveal the names, but confirmed there were 20 on the list.
"I understand there are some common names on the list that are acceptable to both parties. These people have been picked from outside our group," Nata said.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Sun warned in a front-page report that several expatriate judges from Australia and New Zealand were considering mass resignation after three had already resigned.
The military was reported as expressing worry that the resignations could break down the judicial and legal services.
But the Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga, had given assurances that this would not happen.
Two judges appointed to the Supreme Court and one from the High Court had handed in their resignations, Sir Timoci confirmed, according to the Sunday Sun.
The latest judge to resign was said to be Sir Gerard Brennan, a former Chief Justice of Australia.
The military reportedly said that the uncertainty over the judges and the political crisis had "forced" the extension of Sir Timoci's retirement age from 70 to 75 and his involvement in drafting several of the regime's decrees.
The Sunday Post reported that 26 expatriate lecturers at the regional University of the South Pacific had resigned in the aftermath of the illegal takeover of government.
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