Fiji Parliament to elect new President today

​Fijian Parliament will sit today to elect a new President.

As per requirement under the 2013 constitution, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has nominated former military officer and current cabinet minister Jioji Konrote for the position, where as the opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has nominated Taveuni chief and former military commander Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

The constitution requires the President has had a distinguished career in any aspect of national or international life, whether in the public or private sector.

Holds only a Fijian citizenship, is not a member of, or holds any office in, any political party and is not a candidate for election to any other office in the State.

And he or she has not, at any time during the 6 years immediately before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law.

The PM’s nominee Jioji Konrote – under the 2013 constitution qualifies for the position despite being a cabinet minister.

The constitution states person holding a public office is not required to resign from that office before accepting nomination for President, but the appointment of the person as the President has the effect of terminating his or her service in that office

Today at 9:30am when the process of electing the new President starts, both the PM and the Opposition Leader will give the name of their nominees to the Speaker, who will then publicly announce it.

According to the constitution, since there are two nominations, voting will take place.

The voting process – as prescribed in the constitution, says..

The person who receives the support of the majority of the members of  Parliament present shall be appointed as the President, and the Speaker shall publicly announce the name of the President.

In the event that both persons nominated receive the same number of votes, the Speaker shall conduct the voting again after 24 hours, and voting shall continue until such time a person nominated as the President receives the support of the majority of the members of Parliament, provided however that if after 3 rounds of voting, no person receives the support of the majority of the members of Parliament, then the person nominated by the Prime Minister shall be announced by the Speaker as being appointed as the President by Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Opposition National Federation Party (NFP) will abstain in the process of the election of Fiji's president today.

A party statement issued in Suva said the process had been politicised.

Signed by NFP leader Dr Biman Prasad and party president Roko Tupou Draunidalo, the statement said an opportunity for bi-partisan had been missed.

“The Prime Minister, who in his Fiji Day message called for unity, has missed the biggest and best opportunity for bipartisanship,” the statement said.

He should have consulted the Leader of the Opposition as well as the NFP in a spirit of goodwill to achieve consensus on a single candidate who would have been elected unanimously and truly symbolised the unity of the nation.”

The NFP statement said that by abstaining from the process it was protesting against the lack of consensus building.