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Fiji launches national flag designing competition

IANS  |  Suva 

Fiji on Monday launched a nationwide competition to design a new national flag. The competition is scheduled to end on May 1, Xinhua reported.

The new flag will be hoisted for the first time on October 10, the 45th anniversary of independence from British rule.

"The competition, which is open to all Fijians, will end on May 1, when a national committee of citizens, drawn from various walks of life, will begin shifting through the entries to make a final selection," Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said.

The chair of the committee is Iliesa Delana, Fiji's only Olympic gold medalist and the country's assistant minister for youth and sports.

Once a number of selected designs are chosen by the committee, Fijians are expected to be given an opportunity to make their comments through a special website and through text messages, email, social media and the post.

The Fijian prime minister had earlier expressed the motive behind the change.

"The Union Flag belongs to the British, not to us. The shield on our flag has the British Lion and the Cross of St. George, a British patron saint. What does this have to do with us?," said Bainimarama.

"They are the symbols of the coloniser -- Britain -- a country with whom we are friends and will continue to be so. But they are not symbols that are relevant to any Fijian in the 21st century," Bainimarama added.

The country was colonised by Britain in 1874 and gained independence on October 10, 1970.

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First Published: Mon, March 02 2015. 12:38 IST