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BBCs's Phil Mercer in Suva
"Multi-racial constitution will not be reinstated"
 real 28k

Monday, 3 July, 2000, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Fiji's military name civilian cabinet
Government soldiers
Army retains executive authority until the hostages are released
Fiji's military authorities have named an interim civilian administration and a new prime minister in an attempt to resolve the political crisis in the country.

The new prime minister, indigenous Fijian banker Laisenia Qarase will replace the deposed Mahendra Chaudhry who is still being held hostage by rebels following an attempted coup.

There were no ethnic Indians in the government, which will be officially appointed on Tuesday and will serve for 18 months.

Commodore Baniamarama
Bainimarama: Members of the Indian community refused to participate
It will take responsibility for drawing up a new constitution and will also plan for fresh elections.

The line-up was announced by the army's most senior office, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Indians 'declined'

Commodore Bainimarama said he had asked two members of the Indian community, which makes up 44% of the Fijian population, but they declined to take part in the interim government.

Mr Chaudhry, Fiji's first ethnic Indian prime minister, and 26 politicians have been held hostage in the parliament building since the coup on 19 May.

The interim government appointed by the military will include 18 ministers and one assistant minister.

The army will retain executive authority and will only hand it over to a new president when the hostages are released unharmed.

George Speight
Speight's followers did not get any positions in the interim administration
Commodore Bainimarama said the appointment was the first step towards naming a full civilian government.

Referring to coup leader George Speight, he said: "I can only appeal to him in the name of almighty God to release the hostages."

Earlier, military spokesman Filipo Tarakinikini said the new interim government would guide the country back to democracy.

He said that once the new administration was appointed the security forces could concentrate on securing the release of the hostages.

The military refused to give Mr Speight's followers any positions in the new administration after the rebels ignored a deadline to sign a peace accord.

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See also:

02 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Military to pressure Fiji rebels
28 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fiji rebels reject military rule
17 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fiji rebels to help rewrite constitution
07 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Speight's hold over Fiji
11 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fiji coup begins to bite
07 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fiji hostages' long ordeal
19 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Ethnic split haunts Fijian politics
05 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Speight's demands
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