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Fiji's President Reappoints Bainimarama as Prime Minister


Fiji's President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has reappointed military head Commodore Frank Bainimarama as caretaker prime minister, ensuring the military retains control over the nation despite a court ruling to the contrary.

News reports say Mr. Bainimarama is expected to appoint his Cabinet later Saturday.

Fiji's latest upheaval started on Thursday with an appeals court ruling that the military government, established by coup in 2006, was illegal. The move prompted Mr. Bainimarama to announce his resignation from the prime minister's post.

Friday, President Iloilo abolished the national constitution and appointed himself "head of state in the new order." He assumed all governing powers and fired the country's judges. He also declared a state of emergency that allows the government to monitor and censor media reports and broadens the powers of the police.

Fiji has remained calm despite the political turmoil.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has issued a statement saying he deplores abolition of the constitution and dismissal of the judiciary. He has called for restoration of what he called "a legitimate government and constitutional order."

The United States has called on Fiji to take steps to return to democracy, as agreed in a regional forum. Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum have called on Fiji to set an election date by May.

The international community has long urged Fiji to restore democracy and hold elections. But Mr. Bainimarama had said electoral and constitutional reforms were necessary first.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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