Fiji's military leader Frank Bainimarama has announced that the country's president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, is retiring.
Bainimarama said Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will replace him
until the Cabinet chooses a new president. He said Mr. Iloilo's
resignation is effective Thursday.
The 88-year-old Mr. Iloilo has been ailing for some time. He has been president since 2000.
Critics have accused him of being influenced by Commodore Bainimarama, who took power in the 2006 coup.
this year, a court in Fiji ruled that Commodore Bainimarama's military
government was illegal. In response, President Iloilo declared a state
of emergency in April, revoking the constitution and firing the
judiciary. He reinstated the military administration with Commodore
Bainimarama as interim prime minister. He also declared a state of
emergency that allows the government to monitor and censor media
reports and broaden the powers of police.
Mr. Nailatikau, once also a military officer, was appointed vice president under Fiji's new system.
In May, the government said Fiji's return to democracy would be postponed until 2014, five years later than promised.
regional Pacific Islands Forum later suspended Fiji from the 16-nation
bloc, denouncing what it said is the government's total disregard for
basic human rights, democracy and freedom.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.