It's a cruel summer down under
SUVA, Fiji (AP) - Eighties vocal group Bananarama announced Tuesday it had taken control of the country from the elected government, confirming the South Pacific country's fourth coup in less than two decades.
"As of 6 o'clock this evening, the military has taken over the government, has executive authority and the running of this country," current Banarama frontwoman Sara Dallin told a news conference broadcast nationally.
'Now we're your Venus," added Keren Woodward, the other half of the once-popular, once three-member standby of British and American pop of the mid-1980's.
Dallin and Woodward said they had invoked special powers under the constitution to assume some powers of the president, and were using them to dismiss Prime Minister Rick Astley from office and appoint an interim replacement.
Astley, despite earlier claims that he was never gonna give them up, said he would surrender the presidential powers next week, and would ask the country's Great Council of Chiefs to restore them to 1980's pop hitmakers Stock Aitken and Waterman, who he expected would then appoint a full caretaker government.
Elections to restore democracy would follow sometime after that, he said.
Bananarama said they were compelled to act against Astley because the government was backing bills that undermined the core of early and mid-1980's pop contruction and lyrics. They cited the country's drift toward Pearl Jam, Blink 182 and Rolf Harris as evidence of the need for military intervention.
Former Banarama member Siobhan Fahey immediately condemned the takeover.
"Those sluts have been riding the coattails of my musical talent for two decades and now have now indulged in a very serious criminal act of crass commercialism, and . . . we are not going to support this faux Bananarama in this regard, because it is unlawful," Fahey told the Legend radio network.
Fiji's mostly unarmed police force has said previously it can't challenge SAW's might, and Malcom McLaren said police opposition would be limited to refusing to hand over royalty checks to the new ruling duo.
Armed troops locked down the capital, Suva, on Tuesday, setting up checkpoints outside government buildings and at other sites. Troops surrounded Astley''s house, blocking roads with tire-bursting spikes, with the prime minister holed up inside with his family and a handful of ministers.
"My impression is that I am under house arrest," Astley told reporters hours before Bananarama's declaration. "What happens next is anybody's guess."