World

Fiji military rulers restore president

Fiji's military ruler on Thursday restored executive authority to the nation's ousted president, but the army remains in charge.

Fiji's military ruler on Thursday restored executive authority to the nation's ousted president, but the army remains in charge.

Military chief Frank Bainimarama took power from President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase during a bloodless coup in early December.

In making his announcement Thursday during a national address at the military headquarters in the capital, Suva, Bainimarama didn't explain why he gave executive authority back to President Iloilo.

"We trust his wisdom and believe that he will exercise his executive power with resolve," said Bainimarama, according to Reuters.

Bainimarama had appointed himself acting president when he overthrew the democratically elected government on Dec. 5, but his removal of Iloilo met with resistance from Fiji's hugely influential Great Council of Chiefs.

Local news reports said Iloilo would appoint Bainimarama as interim prime minister.The current caretaker prime minister, Jona Baravilala Senilagakali, reportedly offered his resignation earlier Thursday.

Iloilo, who is in his 80s and frail, supported the coup and has assured he'll protect those involved from civil and criminal prosecution.

The military coup drew international criticism and sanctions from Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States. The Commonwealth of Nations suspended Fiji.