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Analysis: SODELPA Board Still Banks On Rabuka As Party Leader

Analysis: SODELPA Board Still Banks On Rabuka As Party Leader
Former Fijian prime ministers (from left) Sitiveni Rabuka, Mahendra Chaudhry and Laisenia Qarase.
September 02
10:00 2018

Can Sitiveni Rabuka continue as SODELPA leader although he won’t be able to contest the general election if he is convicted in his court case?

The management board of SODELPA seems to think he can.

It may have used the case of Mahendra Chaudhry as a precedent. He was general secretary and leader of the Fiji Labour Party when he was convicted of a foreign exchange rate offence and could not stand in the election. He stepped down as general secretary but carries on as party leader. It has been suggested that it is in name only and he really has no position. But the party still calls him leader while general secretary Aman Ravindra-Singh, a provisional candidate, is the parliamentary leader.

Mr Rabuka is charged with a declaration of assets offence. If he is convicted he will not be able to stand for the election. But can he keep his leadership role?

Laisenia Qarase, former SDL Prime Minister, was convicted of corruption and jailed for one year. While he could not contest the 2014 General Election the Fijian Elections Office ruled that he could not  be appointed to the position of president, general secretary, treasurer and the assistants.

Anasa Vocea, a former permanent secretary who was convicted of fraud, is also in the same category.

The management board has come up with a contingency plan. The president, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, has been given the authority to appoint an interim party leader for seven days while the party processes approved yesterday kick in to elect a party leader.



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