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Archive for Saturday, April 11, 2009

Military chief returns to prime minister post

April 11, 2009

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— Fiji’s armed forces chief returned to power as this troubled country’s prime minister today, a day after the president suspended the constitution and fired the judges who had declared the military leader’s government illegal.

President Ratu Josefa Iloilo also declared a 30-day state of emergency, limiting freedom of speech, expanding police powers and curbing media reporting.

The radical moves ensured that Commodore Frank Bainimarama retains control over this South Pacific country despite a court ruling Thursday that the 2006 coup in which he seized power — and therefore his government — was unlawful.

The turmoil marks the latest chapter in a long-running political crisis in the once idyllic country of 800,000 people that has become increasingly unstable and poor after four coups in the past 20 years.

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