PM: Coup has raped Fiji's constitution

The military coup in Fiji today has “raped our constitution” and will send the south Pacific country’s tourist-dependent economy crashing, the ousted prime minister said.

The military coup in Fiji today has “raped our constitution” and will send the south Pacific country’s tourist-dependent economy crashing, the ousted prime minister said.

“The actions they have taken…are unconstitutional and what the military has done is raped our constitution,” Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase said.

“They have brought shame to the country…and all right-thinking people should stand up and fight for our democracy, by peaceful means of course,” he said.

Military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama declared this morning that the military had taken control of the government in Fiji and that Qarase, elected in May, had been dismissed.

He said a caretaker prime minister had been appointed, and a full caretaker government would come later before elections to restore democracy.

Qarase said the caretaker government would be “totally illegal”.

“I have been dismissed,” he said. “Legally, I am still the prime minister.”

He predicted economic sanctions and large quantities of aid would stop flowing to the developing country as a result of the coup.

“The impact on our economy will be huge,” he said, predicting that 50% of the country’s 900,000 people could be thrown into poverty “because of the drastic impact of what has happened”.

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