Laisenia Qarase returns to the capital as the military chief declares he is the ‘boss’.
Earlier on Sunday, Qarase said that he had called an emergency meeting of his cabinet for Tuesday. Asked if he thought the military was about to remove him from office, he said: “No.”
|“No one should be frightened about what’s going to happen in the next couple of days”
Commodore Frank Bainimarama,
“What he’s [Bainimarama] been saying, that will be totally illegal, it shall be against the constitution of Fiji, against the laws of Fiji, and it will amount to treason,” Qarase said.
He said he was planning an interim government but that its line-up had yet to be finalised. He assured Fijians that the transition would be “peaceful”.
Bainimarama installed Qarase as interim leader after declaring martial law to put down the 2000 coup, but now accuses him of being too soft on those behind the coup and a failed but bloody mutiny linked to it in which the commander was almost killed.
Bainimarama has repeatedly threatened to remove Qarase’s government unless it drops three pieces of legislation, including a bill that would grant amnesty to those involved in the 2000 coup.
A Fijian newspaper, the Sunday Post, quoted unidentified government and military sources as saying the military would begin its “clean up” of the government at 3am on Monday (1500 GMT on Sunday).