Josefa Iloilo

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Ratu Josefa Iloilo
image:ratujosefailoilo.jpg
Order:3rd President
Term of Office:13 July 2000 – present
Followed:Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
Date of BirthDecember 29 1920
Wife:Adi Salaseini Kavunono

Ratu Josefa Iloilo Uluivuda (born December 29, 1920) is the President of Fiji. He has the traditional title of Tui Vuda, the paramount chief of the Vuda district on Fiji's northwest coast.

Contents

Career

After working as a teacher and civil service administrator, Iloilo later became a member of the House of Representatives. He subsequently served as a Senator in the 1990s, and was President of the Senate prior to his becoming Vice-President of Fiji on 18 January 1999. He was in this position under President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara in 1999 and 2000, when Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry's government was overthrown by Fijian nationalists led by George Speight in the Fiji coup of 2000. He was sworn in as President on 13 July 2000, but legal experts consider that he was constitutionally the President as of 29 May, the date on which Ratu Mara had been removed from office by the military, and to which his resignation in December that year had been backdated.

Originally widely thought of as a stooge of the military, Iloilo has since won widespread respect among Fiji's diverse political factions and ethnic communities owing to his efforts to find, or even make, common ground among them. He has refused to intervene directly in the disputes among politicians, but has quietly reached out to disaffected factions, including the Indo-Fijian community. He is admired for his success in persuading the military to allow a return to democracy in 2001.

Beliefs

A deeply religious man, Iloilo has been a lay-preacher and was Vice-President of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma in 1997 and 1998. In September 2004, he hosted a state dinner for Argentinian-born American evangelist Luis Palau. He also delivered the opening address at Fiji's National Day of Prayer on 15 May 2005, which was also obsserved in may other countries. He called on Fijian citizens to seek God's wisdom to find the way forward for the nation, and said he considered prayer to be "as important to our nation as breath is to our lives." Reminding Christians of the Jewish Year of Jubilee, a year for cancelling all debts owed by one's fellow-man, Iloilo called on the people to pursue both personal and national reconciliation and forgiveness, saying that they would reap what they sowed. "Whatever you sow you shall reap. If you sow the seeds of harmony, peace and goodwill you will reap the fruits thereof. If you sow the seeds of discord, hatred and injustice you cannot expect to reap good results," Iloilo said.

Political controversies

On 20 June 2005, the Fiji Times reported that "a reliable source" close to the government had accused Iloilo of refusing to discipline Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, for his public criticism of government policies. The source said that Iloilo had refused repeated requests from the Home Affairs Minister, Josefa Vosanibola, to take disciplinary measures against Bainimarama for publicly opposing the early release of prisoners convicted of coup-related offenses, as well as the proposed establishment of a Reconciliation and Unity Commission (called the "Reconciliation Bull" by Bainimarama) with the power (subject to presidential approval) to compensate victims and pardon convicted participants in the coup. The source said that the President's refusal to act was making the Home Affairs Minister look foolish and incompetent, and suggested that Iloilo was not following the Constitution. As President, Iloilo is Commander-in-Chief of the Military, but, according to the source, is required by Section 96 of the Constitution to act on the advice of the appropriate Cabinet Minister, in this case the Home Affairs Minister.

External links

Template:Wikiquotepar


Preceded by:
Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
President of Fiji
2000–current
Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent
Preceded by:
Ratu Sir Josaia Tavaiqia
Ratu Inoke Takiveikata
Vice-president
1997–2000
Succeeded by:
Ratu Jope Seniloli
Preceded by:
Ratu Sir Josaia Tavaiqia
Tui Vuda
Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent

Template:End box Note: Prior to Iloilo's appointment as Vice-President in 1999, Fiji had two Vice-Presidents simultaneously, but the 1997 Constitution, which came into effect in 1999, provided for a single Vice-President.

Template:Ratu-stubde:Ratu Josefa Iloilo gl:Ratu Josefa Iloilo pl:Ratu Josefa Iloilo fi:Josefa Iloilo

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