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Analysis: Rewa Will Be A Tough Four-Way Competition

Analysis: Rewa Will Be A Tough Four-Way Competition
September 06
11:06 2018

The contest for votes in Rewa is a four-way battle.

It’s between Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa, her nephew Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Unity Fiji’s Tomasi Vakatora and of course Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Why PM Bainimarama? FijiFirst has no specific Rewa candidate as SODELPA and Unity Fiji. But it places its faith in Mr Bainimarama like it did in 2014.

FijiFirst voters will again be asked to tick his number. It has not announced its provisional candidates yet but Mr Bainimarama is again likely to give Rewan provisional candidates tough opposition on their home turf. FijiFirst is banking on his wide appeal.

A battle to watch is between Ro Teimumu and Ro Filipe, both chiefs and related.

They are contesting from the same party, Ro Teimumu (Rewa Rural under the system followed by SODELPA) and Ro Filipe (National/Rewa). In reality, they are going for the same votes because the electoral system says there is only one constituency – the national constituency.

For the two chiefs it could be a replay of their contest in the 2006 General Election.

Both wanted the Rewa seat on a SDL ticket. Ro Teimumu defeated Ro Filipe in the primary. Ro Filipe ran as Independent and won 38 per cent of the votes.

In this election they will again split the votes. Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka will pick up the spoils of that battle. Ro Filipe is doing him a big favour.

Mr Rabuka’s camp has been bothered for a while by Ro Teimumu’s strong showing in the Fiji Sun-Razor opinion poll.

They have exchanged leads on a number of occasions until Mr Rabuka began consolidating his lead. Their sea-sawing battle has asked questions about whether Mr Rabuka is the right person to lead SODELPA into the 2018 general election.

The dark horse of this race is Mr Vakatora who defected from SODELPA.

Mr Vakatora is a son of the late Mr Vakatora senior, a former minister in the Alliance Government of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and a former Speaker of Parliament.

Preliminary reports indicate that he has gained significant inroads in Rewa. He has raised the stakes and is expected to split the votes further. He is likely to pull away a significant number of voters who voted for SODELPA in 2014.

Rewa is Ro Teimumu’s stronghold. She is the paramount chief of Rewa and Burebasaga Confederacy as the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi. The bulk of her support will come from her traditional subjects which gives her an advantage.

Ro Filipe is never to be underestimated. He has the support of the younger generation.

He gets his backing from the rugby fraternity because he is the president of the Rewa Rugby Union.

SODELPA’s challenge is that it does not use the same formula as FijiFirst which tells its supporters to vote for Mr Bainimarama.

The number of his votes will help determine the number of seats in Parliament.

In 2014, Mr Bainimarama amassed 202,459 votes nationally while Ro Teimumu got 49,485 although she dominated Rewa.

This time around Ro Teimumu may find the competition stiffer.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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