FIJI NEWS

Lawyer calls for age limit

By JYOTI PRATIBHA Parliament should not be retirement recreation, says suspended Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry. The son of Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, he has called for an age
14 Oct 2012 11:09

Rajendra Chaudhry while submitting his views to Constitution Commission in Suva yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR

By JYOTI PRATIBHA

Parliament should not be retirement recreation, says suspended Suva lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry.
The son of Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, he has called for an age limit to be imposed on those who wished to contest parliamentary elections.
In making his submissions to the Constitution Commission yesterday, Mr Chaudhry said:
“It is my submission that there should be an age restriction of 65 years, on the date of nomination, for persons wishing to enter the contest for parliamentary elections. Parliament should not be the retirement recreation of civil servants and other retirees – it must be seen as a professional, long term and serious profession.”
Mr Chaudhry also stated that those who have been convicted of a crime and have served their jail term should be eligible to contest elections.
He also submitted that the Prime Minister must be barred from holding office for more than two terms. “This is the practice in the United States with its Presidency and was the same in the 1997 Constitution with the tenure of Presidency not exceeding two terms. This restriction will promote greater participation of persons seeking to hold public office.”
Mr Chaudhry further stated that the Speaker of the House of Representatives must be a person entitled to practice law and preferably a retired High Court judge who takes a judicial oath of office before the Chief Justice.
“This will ensure that the Speaker is independent of the political parties and will perform his/ her functions in such a manner. The term of Speaker is to run concurrently with that of Parliament and he/ she shall not be subject to non-confidence motions.”
He further submitted that
n All decrees promulgated by the interim regime must be reviewed by an elected Parliament and decrees penal in nature must be set aside and its predecessor legislation to replace it.
n The President must only act on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She or he must have no residual powers. In cases of public emergency, the President must act in accordance with the Public Safety Act and the Public Order Act.
n The President must have no powers to dismiss the Prime Minister and or the Cabinet except as provided for in the Constitution or only where the ruling party has lost a vote of confidence on the floor of the House and the Opposition is ready to form a minority and or alternative Government.




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