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Analysis: Only One Party Can Win The 2018 Election On Its Own

Analysis: Only One Party Can Win The 2018 Election On Its Own
May 17
11:01 2018

As things stand now, no single par­ty, other than the FijiFirst Party can win the 2018 General Election on its own.

It therefore presents a real prospect of a coalition of Opposition parties if they win enough seats to form a Government.

But will such a coalition work? Current indicators show that the political parties have so many differences it will be practi­cally impossible to set up a working Gov­ernment.

The National Federation Party is still wary of SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka. That’s why it can’t talk coalition with SO­DELPA before the 2018 General Election.

The NFP has not forgotten what happened in the 1999 General Election when it was decimated and won no seat – the first time ever it had failed to win a seat. The humili­ating loss was blamed on the Rabuka con­nection.

Then NFP leader Jai Ram Reddy and Mr Rabuka (then SVT leader) signed a coali­tion agreement.

The poll results clearly showed the pre­dominantly Indo-Fijian voters rejected the coalition because of Mr Rabuka’s 1987 coup involvement.

But the NFP now has kept its options open after the election. So anything is possible.

To the other political parties which have talked about fighting the election on a unit­ed front, NFP’s stand is unacceptable and would complicate matters after the election when it comes to coalition talks.

SODELPA is likely to be the majority par­ty in the Opposition again based on the lat­est Fiji Sun-Razor opinion poll.

SODELPA and the National Federation Party were in a loose form of an unofficial coalition after NFP leader Biman Prasad was appointed Opposition spokesperson on Finance/Economy by Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa after the 2014 General Elec­tion.

But that relationship ended last year when Mr Prasad was replaced by SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro.

Both SODELPA and NFP operate inde­pendently. When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed our Parliament in Suva in 2014, SODELPA boycotted the sitting but NFP decided that its three MPs should attend.

SODELPA felt then it was treated with disrespect by the FijiFirst Government for having no role to play in the proceedings other than being present.

But the NFP had to attend because it could not be seen by its predominantly Indo-Fiji­an supporters boycotting Mr Modi.

A boycott would have been political sui­cide because of Mr Modi’s international star status, especially with people of In­dian origin.

Mr Prasad has said that they do not want to be part of any coalition before the elec­tion.

He said they wanted to fight the election on their own.

Going by its relationship with SODELPA, NFP would not be in a hurry to court Mr Rabuka before and after the 2018 General Election.

Many NFP members have not forgotten their 1999 General Election experience.

A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which many or multiple political parties co-operate.

This is because no party on its own can achieve a majority in the Parliament. The party with the most seats usually holds the key posts.

Parties thinking of joining a coalition should get a mandate from their members to do it.

At this point in time, however, FijiFirst looks like heading to its second general election victory, judging by the latest Fiji Sun-Razor poll. A coalition will then be out of the question.

Edited by Percy Kean


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