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Editorial: Finding Suitable Candidates For 2018 General Election A Major Challenge

Editorial: Finding Suitable Candidates For 2018 General Election A Major Challenge
July 06
10:04 2018

There are many unknowns in the provisional candidates already announced by some political parties. Today we begin publishing their personal profiles to help you get to know them.

The National Federation Party originally announced 40. But that figure has now dropped to 37 after three resigned.

SODELPA has announced 46 names. Unity Fiji is still toying with the idea of who else who to field, apart from the 13 named. There is no hope for proposed HOPE to come out at such a late stage. The Fiji Labour Party has a lot of ground to cover if it intends to field 51 candidates.

FijiFirst is in the process of interviewing its provisional candidates.

The NFP seems to be the only party that has been losing provisional candidates. This brings out the question on what sort of vetting process NFP has in place? Damage control, which is what the party is doing now, is a little too late. Questions are already being asked about who selected these people and what have they contributed to the party. SODELPA’s provisional candidate list has been very predictable, barring the inclusion of trade unionist Daniel Urai.

His name was announced at SODELPA’s annual general meeting at Namoli Village, Lautoka. In a strange twist to the tale, party general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi, said Mr Urai should not have been on that list.

But Mr Urai said yesterday that he had applied for a SODELPA ticket to contest the election and that he was a SODELPA man. The two different accounts probably sum up the state of SODELPA right now.

To get a ticket, Mr Urai must become a registered SODELPA member, meaning he has to pay his $2 fee. If he has, then he should have resigned as president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress and general secretary of the National Union of Hospital, Catering and Tourism Industries Employees as required by law.

Under the Political Parties Decree, Mr Urai is classified as a public officer. No elected or appointed official of a trade union can be a political party member or hold office. If the official wants to become a member or office bearer of a political party, the official must resign before doing so.

In this case, Mr Urai should resign so that he does not breach the law. Is he waiting for SODELPA to confirm his candidacy before he resigns?

Unity Fiji has shown some promise, but their decision to include a former SODELPA supporter Raman Velji as part of their team has raised a few eyebrows.

The bottom line is that Fiji deserves better – people who are focused not those who see politics as a means to their retirement. If we look at the SODELPA line-up, for example, how many of them have a career to fall back on?

Fiji deserves candidates who have earned their respect within the society. There is still some time for the Opposition parties to redeem themselves by including candidates who will make a difference to all Fijians.


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