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Fiji Military Chief Installs New Prime Minister


A day after seizing power in Fiji, the military has installed an army physician and political novice as caretaker prime minister. But as VOA's Heda Bayron reports from our Asia News Center in Hong Kong, Fiji faces isolation following the South Pacific nation's fourth coup in 20 years.

Coup leader and military chief Frank Bainimarama swore in Dr. Jona Senilagakali as Fiji's interim prime minister Wednesday.

Bainimarama overthrew elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase a day before for alleged corruption and plans to give an amnesty to former nationalist coup leaders.

The military has sent Mr. Qarase to a remote island, rounded up his supporters and declared a state of emergency.

Fiji's military leaders are facing sanctions from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer spoke Wednesday to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We are going to be tough on these people. This is a simply disgraceful thing that has been done by Commodore Bainimarama," he said.

Fiji was generally peaceful Wednesday but the area around the capital, Suva, has been cordoned off.

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