Fiji will likely be suspended from the Commonwealth bloc, New Zealand said Wednesday — a day after its military ruler strengthened his grip on power by replacing the ailing president with a stronger ally.

Self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, the armed forces chief who seized power in a 2006 coup, announced President Ratu Josefa Iloilo would step down on Tuesday.

He will be replaced in the interim by Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, widely seen as a mentor for the ambitious prime minister. Nailatikau was appointed foreign minister after the coup and assured Pacific leaders that elections would be held by April 2009 — a pledge the regime has since broken, leading to its growing isolation.

Fiji has already been suspended by the Pacific Islands Forum, a regional bloc of 16 nations, and major trade partners, including the European Union, Australia and New Zealand, have imposed sanctions on it.

On Friday, a group of foreign ministers from the 53-nation Commonwealth group of Britain and its current and former colonies is due to meet in London to consider whether Fiji should also be suspended from that bloc.

“I think there’s a full suspension from the Commonwealth imminent at some stage,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Wednesday.

The foreign ministers’ decision will be considered by the full Commonwealth later in the year. A suspension could result in the loss of some aid and other support for the already struggling economy.

McCully said Nailatikau’s appointment was “another … in an array of illegitimate actions” by Bainimarama’s regime.

“There is no immediate prospect that the international community is going to go opening any great doors for them to enter,” he told New Zealand’s National Radio.

Fiji has been suspended from the Commonwealth twice before — after its twin military coups of 1987 and again after a third coup in 2000.

Nailatikau, a former armed forces commander, was appointed Bainimarama’s foreign minister after the 2006 putsch. He was nominated as vice president April 2007 but rejected by the then-powerful indigenous Great Council of Chiefs, prompting Bainimarama to suspend the body. Iloilo appointed him vice president in April 2009.

Iloilo, 88 years old and sick with heart disease, announced his retirement only four months after he threw out the South Pacific nation’s constitution, fired the judiciary, began ruling by decree and imposed emergency controls to cement Bainimarama’s grip on power.

Iloilo was widely seen as being under the influence of Bainimarama even before the military chief toppled elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase — and it was Iloilo who appointed the strongman as prime minister after the coup.

Observers in Fiji say his replacement by Nailatikau only underscores the regime’s dominance and could strengthen it.

McCully said no early positive change is expected from the Fiji regime.

“Everyone awaits the day when they decide they really do want to re-engage with the international community and take the necessary steps to get there,” he said.


10 Responses to “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmn”

  1. Jone Says:

    Dear Commonwealth Nations

    Fiji’s Dictators don’t belong and we’ve waited too long. Do the kicking now please.

  2. kingrat Says:

    to add to Jone do kick vore in the ass also

  3. Willy Says:

    Let us hope that we see a suspension. This could also trigger a stronger reaction from the European Union which should close down the Suva.

  4. Anon Says:

    I thought we were already suspended, we should now be expelled!

  5. Budhau Says:

    Yes Anon, we are expelled from the Commonwealth, and the UN no longer uses Fijian for the peace keeping duties – isn’t that what the Australian PM announced.

    These ANZ guys have a habit of doing this, same old crap.

    Fiji was told by the Commonwealth in March, that they are giving Fiji six months to get its shit together or they will suspend Fiji in September – so this is old news.

    BTW have those forum people taken Fiji back yet – I think the MSG guys should all pull out of the Forum – and let ANZ have it all to themselves, with that Samoan dude.
    The last time they kicked Fiji out of the Commonwealth, it took us 10 years before they would let us back in again – maybe this time we will be back in there in less than five years.

  6. Truth Says:

    It’s the illegal criminals who are being kicked out.

    So go ahead and do not delay.

    We the people of Fiji are all for anything that makes these criminals look bad.

  7. Anon Says:

    Full suspension = expulsion, yeah? My goodness, CMAG just tell us as it is…..just like everyone (or at least news presenters) saying H1N1 instead of just saying swine flu….or pig flu….oh! now I get it, they were afraid of the piglets in the newsroom!!!!!

    Sorry to go off topic everyone, but yeah, too much pretending everywhere….when reality is staring us in the face!!!! Please let’s continue to rub it into their ILLEGAL FACES, the realities, truths, oppression, intimidations, etc, etc that they are imposing on us and trying to sweep under the pala!

    Happy blogging everyone!

  8. Wilson Tamanikaira Says:

    Judging by the clearly visible and increasingly white crop on Bainimarama’s head on show during the recent “Dateline shamozzle”, it seems that tying to holding back the long arms of the law is taking its toll on this fugitive on the run.

    Voreqe must understand that the democratic super powers of the Pacific (US, Aus and NZ) who are friends of Fiji will not let a tinpot flyby night military dictatorship flourish in the Pacific.The blatant courting of historically suppressive countries like Russia and China by the illegal regime has also put them offside.

    The troops of the FMF must now all realize that they have a corrupt and politically misguided commander on their hands who has brought nothing but shame, scams and hardship on them, their families and the wider community to which they belong.

  9. kaiveicoco Says:

    in your dreams Budhau

  10. Puf-Military Says:

    No matter how some people try to downplay it, this will be catastrophic for Fiji on many levels. With it looking increasingly likely that the Sept 1 deadline will come with no progress by the IG (coupled with Piggy’s foolish pride), our expulsion looks inevitable.

    The first stage will see all withdrawal and suspension of Commonwealth assistance to Fiji. Commonwealth countries (esp England)that are part of the European Communities and European Union will lobby their fellow members to ostracize Fiji further one aspect of which will be to deny market access for our exports – bye bye to our sugar industry, no fish export to Europe etc. No more hiring of personnel for the British Army. Good news for our competitiors and Pac. neighbours, very bad news for us.

    This will result in further economic hardship for our contracting economy, with major unemployment and social displacement problems.

    If Commonwealth countries muster up enough international support (remember that Piggy has been heaping insults on Aust/NZ with his ill advised strutting) then the UN may indeed stop our participation in all UNIFIL peacekeeping operations and send all our lads back home. If this scenario plays out with a contracted economy, loss of job opportunities, mass hardship in the presence of a visible, insensitive self appointed elite few – it looks like Piggy and IG will be devoured by their own hounds.

    Remember that Aust/NZ have been spat in the face by Piggy on numerous occasions with his consistent inability to keep his word on meeting election deadlines and other resolutions. These 2 will exhaust all avenues to make an example of Piggy. They know all too well how unpopular Piggy is with the numerous human/ civil rights abuses against the people. He would have been better off making peace with the Chiefs and the Church instead of isolating him and his “loyal” few further.

    Pride comes before fall. He, the Ig and the siblings will learn this painful lesson, but by then too late.

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