Fiji court hears ousted PM's challenge to legality of coup Gabriel Haboubi at 2:05 PM ET
[JURIST] A Fijian court Thursday began hearing the case brought by former Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase [BBC profile] against Fiji's current acting government over allegations that the December military coup [JURIST report] that ousted him was illegal. Central to the government's defense is the constitutional interpretation of the largely ceremonial powers of Fiji's president. A lawyer for Qarase has said the coup was orchestrated by armed forces chief and current self-appointed prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama [BBC profile], but lawyers for the present government argue that Bainimarama sought and received permission from Fijian President Josefa Iloilo [official profile] to dismiss Qarase as prime minister. Qarase's lawyer argues that Bainimarama threatened the 86-year-old Iloilo with a complete takeover of executive authority after Qarase refused Bainimarama's request that he resign.
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