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NFP Pulling Away From Small Parties in War of Attrition

NFP Pulling Away From Small Parties in War of Attrition
June 17
10:00 2017

The battle of attrition will be fought among the minority parties in the 2018 general election.

Before they even think about the two largest parties, FijiFirst and SODELPA, the smaller parties should be wary of each other.

They are competing for the same groups of voters, the workers and the cane farmers.

The results of the 2014 general election showed that they were bunched together at the lower end of final results (See table).

The National Federation Party just managed to hit the 5 per cent threshold at 5.5 per cent.  It scored 27,066 votes. The result won NFP three seats.

The People’s Democratic Party only managed 15,064 or 3.2 per cent. It failed to win a seat.

The Fiji Labour Party scored 11,670 votes or 2.4 per cent. One Fiji Party is dead and the Fiji United Freedom Party will be lucky to retain its 1072 votes.

If the proposed HOPE Party and proposed Unity Fiji Party join the 2018 election race, the contest will be more intense.

So far the NFP leads the minority party bloc. The turnout at its recent annual convention indicated that the NFP buildup is progressing nicely. Dissidents from other parties like president Pio Tikoduadua and former foreign affairs permanent secretary Robin Nair see NFP as the credible alternative government compared to SODELPA, the senior partner in Opposition. Its inclusive policies and liberalism have attracted them. The key to its success would be whether it could grow its iTaukei support. And those votes would potentially come from SODELPA and FijiFirst. The battle for Indo-Fijian votes will be harder because it will be split among it, the FLP, PDP and FijiFirst.

If strength is judged by how much noise one makes, then FLP is definitely overtaking PDP as the NFP’s closest rival. FLP through its sugar union arm, the National Farmers Union, is making waves in the cane belt. But the PDP has hardly fired a shot.

All indications so far show that NFP is gradually pulling away from the small parties and SODELPA will be its next target.

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