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Mr President: Jioji Konrote
Outgoing President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (left) with newly-elected President Jioji Konrote at the Fiji Day reception at Government House last Friday.

Mr President: Jioji Konrote

By Ulaiasi Koroi

Major General Jioji Konousi Konrote is Fiji’s next President.

He was the former Minister for Employment, here Productivity and Industrial Relations under the Bainimarama Government.

Konrote’s appointment will be the first time a Fijian not of chiefly status will take up residence at Government House.

The Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition each submitted a presidential candidate to the Speaker of Parliament this morning before the Speaker announced the nominees to the Members of Parliament before Parliament decided on Fiji’s next head of state with a majority vote.

Konrote who is from Rotuma was elected by a margin of 31-14.

Sodelpa, the ruling Opposition party, had proposed Ratu Epeli Ganilau as its presidential candidate.

In a statement, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama praised Konrote as “one of Fiji’s most outstanding and decorated military officers serving Fiji as a military officer, an international peacekeeper and a senior civil servant and diplomat”. He is the only Fijian to be appointed as the Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and UN Assistant Secretary General.

In addition to his service in the military, Konrote also served as the Fijian High Commissioner to Australia and Ambassador to Singapore.

In 2006, he was elected as a Member of Parliament and served as a Minister for State for Immigration and Ex-Servicemen under the SDL Government.

Prime Minister Bainimarama described Konrote as “a paragon of loyalty, courage and devotion to duty in his performance as a military commander, honesty and dedication as a senior civil servant and Minister, and tact and perseverance as a diplomat”.

Konrote will take office in November when Ratu Epeli Nailatikau’s term ends.

According to electoral laws, the next most popular Fiji First candidate at last year’s General Election will replace Konrote which is Viliame Naupoto, the current acting military commander. Naupoto has, however, told FBC that he would not leave the military.

The next most popular candidate after Naupoto would be veteran journalist Matai Akauola who’s currently the director of the Media Industry Development Authority.

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