Caretaker prime minister is new democratic leader of Fiji

The caretaker prime minister of Fiji is to be sworn in as the democratically elected prime minister.

The caretaker prime minister of Fiji is to be sworn in as the democratically elected prime minister.

Fijian United Party leader Laisenia Qarase says he has put together a majority of legislators to form a new governing coalition.

The banker installed by the army following last year's nationalist coup is to be sworn in by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo on Monday.

Presidential Secretary Jeremaia Waqanisau says the date for swearing in a new Cabinet has been set for Wednesday.

Even as the ceremony was announced, former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry refused to rule out cobbling together a governing coalition.

Chaudhry, ousted in the May 2000 coup which led to last week's election, says his party is still in talks with a group of centrist moderates and the hardline nationalist Conservative Alliance Party.

He needs just 10 seats it needs to form a Government.

Chaudhry was the first prime minister from Fiji's 44-percent ethnic Indian minority.

"We need some more moderates," Chaudhry said, adding his negotiators are holding further talks.

A negotiator for Qarase's party, also known as the SDL, says Qarase will take up the prime minister's post. Qarase claims to have the support of the moderate block, which controls the six seats he needs for a majority in the 71-seat Parliament.

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