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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 05:41 GMT
Fiji's new government takes shape
Cmdr Bainimarama
Cmdr Bainimarama seized power in December
Fiji's interim government is now taking shape, with eight ministers being sworn in to work under the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama.

Cmdr Bainimarama was sworn in as the country's temporary leader on Friday, almost a month after overthrowing the previous government in a military coup.

He has promised that the interim administration will pave the way for a return to democracy.

But no date has yet been given for new elections.

New leadership

The eight interim ministers were officially sworn in on Monday by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, who was restored to office last Thursday after being deposed during the coup.

But the president's position is largely ceremonial, and the ministers were actually chosen by Cmdr Bainimarama.

FIJI TENSIONS TIMELINE
map
2000: Brief coup put down by army chief Bainimarama
July 2005: Bainimarama warns he will topple government if it pardons jailed coup plotters
May 2006: PM Laisenia Qarase wins re-election
31 Oct: Qarase tries - and fails - to replace Bainimarama
November: Qarase says he will change law offering clemency to coup plotters - Bainimarama warns of coup
5 Dec: Military declares coup

According to the online news site Fiji Live, a former military commander and speaker of parliament, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, will act as the interim foreign minister.

Suva lawyer Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the new Attorney General, while caretaker Prime Minister Jona Senilagakali - who resigned last week to make way for Cmdr Bainimarama to take the job - has become health minister.

Other ministers include a former navy officer and two former senators, according to local media. More appointments are expected on Tuesday.

Fiji's first ethnic Indian premier, Mahendra Chaudhry, who was ousted during a previous coup in 2000, has also reportedly been offered a position, but he has so far refused to comment on whether he will accept the job, according to Fiji Live.

The new Foreign Minister, Mr Nailatikau, said the new government would try to restore ties with Fiji's neighbours, some of which publicly condemned the coup and even called for sanctions against the new administration.

"That's part and parcel of this game," he told the Associated Press news agency. "Those countries have the right to do that. We have to abide by it but at the same time, we will be talking to them and seeing what we can do about it."

Cmdr Bainimarama seized control of the country in December, marking the fourth coup in two decades.

He accused former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's government of corruption and racism against the country's ethnic Indian minority.




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