‘President’s powers need to be reviewed’
Ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has admitted the country does not need a Constitution or any law if the President has so much prerogative to influence the judicial system in Fiji.
And according to Qarase, the High Court ruling today has been biased and influenced by the interim government.
“According to what has happened today, the court has given the President in my view very wide prerogative powers and if he has those kinds of powers then the question is whether there is any point in having a Constitution or having any law at all.
“The President can just rule by decree,” Qarase told journalists moments ago.
“I think they have gone overboard in explaining the powers of the President in terms of prerogative powers.”
Qarase said such powers by the President should be re-looked at seriously in future.
He added the decision by the High Court today will encourage future coups, because all the perpetrators need to do is get the President to validate their illegal actions carried out during and after the coup.
The panel of judges found that the President’s actions during the period in question were valid as there was no other course of action reasonably available.
“We find that the President’s actions were designed to protect a wide variety of competing interests,” Justice Gates said.
“The Constitution remained and remains intact and we therefore find the President’s actions to be valid,” the court ruled.
Furthermore the court upheld as valid and lawful:
• the appointment of Dr Jona Senilagakali as caretaker Prime Minister and his submission that Parliament be dissolved;
• the President’s decision to rule directly by promulgation;
• the President’s power to promulgate laws and the decision to grant immunity to those behind or involved in the takeover.