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Analysis: Battle For Naitasiri Votes Hinges on Service Record

Analysis: Battle For Naitasiri Votes Hinges on Service Record
September 07
10:00 2018

The battle for Naitasiri votes will come down to the wire in the 2018 General Election.

The candidates who will succeed are those who have a proven service record in the province.

Voters will remember politicians who came to them and offered them hope and relief.

Ground reports from the province reveal that politicians who use race and religion for cheap political gains will fail miserably.

In fact in one area, an Opposition politician was reportedly told to stop denigrating others and tell the meeting what he was offering the people.

Provisional candidates lining up to fight for the Naitasiri votes are SODELPA’s sitting members of Parliament Aseri Radrodro and Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki, Peceli Rinakama (SODELPA), Bayameyame Eseromi (yet to be announced by SODELPA) and possibly FijiFirst backbencher Alivereti Nabulivou.

National Federation Party, Unity Fiji and the Fiji Labour Party are unlikely to be much of an opposition.

The real battle will be fought between FijiFirst’s and SODELPA’s candidates.

In the 2014 General Election, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and former Minister for National Security and Defence Timoci Natuva scored the highest votes in a dominant FijiFirst performance. It is not clear whether Mr Natuva and Mr Nabulivou will be back to contest the election.  Mr Bainimarama is expected to return with a strong showing in the province on the back of an excellent performance by his Government in these past four years.

SODELPA votes will be split up by Mr Radrodro, Ro Kiniviliame, Mr Rinakama and Mr Eseromi. They will need more than the Naitasiri votes to reach the threshold for a seat in Parliament. It means they have to reach out to party supporters outside of Naitasiri.

This is where Mr Radrodro has widened his support. He has answered calls to visit the West and Vanua Levu. Mr Radrodro has even established contacts with the islands. People like him for his positivity and focus on issues ranging from electricity to TELS.

He is one of those politicians who have stayed away from the politics of race and religion.

Right now, FijiFirst and principally Mr Bainimarama is the party to beat in Naitasiri. It will be no surprise if Mr Bainimarama repeats his 2014 performance because his Government has continued with the same momentum it achieved in 2014.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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