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Tailevu Shaping Up As One Of The Fiercest Battlegrounds

Tailevu Shaping Up As One Of The Fiercest Battlegrounds
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama outside Parliament on July 11, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
September 08
12:15 2018

One of the fiercest battlegrounds in the 2018 General Election will be the Tailevu Province.

It will field a powerful line-up of candidates, including Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The other provisional candidates include: Pio Tikoduadua (National Federation Party), Inia Seruiratu (Fiji First, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management), Adi Litia Qionibaravi (SODELPA general secretary,Tailevu North Rural), Jiosefa Dulakiverata (SODELPA, Tailevu North), Ratu Isoa Tikoca (SODELPA, Tailevu South Rural), Ratu Jone Rabici Seniloli (SODELPA, Tailevu South Rural). Unity Fiji and Fiji Labour Party candidates will split the votes more.

But the big battle will be between SODELPA and FijiFirst.

Mr Bainimarama will be the one to beat. He has one advantage. FijiFirst voters are asked to vote for him as the party capitalises on his popularity as in 2014.

Mr Seruiratu will also be right up there close to Mr Bainimarama.

But SODELPA candidates will first battle among themselves.

Mr Dulakiverata faces Adi Litia in Tailevu North. Both are well known, but Mr Dulakiverata has done a lot of visits in the province during his four-year term as a member of Parliament.

Adi Litia has been confined to party headquarters because she is the general secretary. Both are well known in the province.

In Tailevu South, suspended MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca faces newcomer Ratu Jone.

Ratu Jone is from the chiefly island of Bau and is the son of former ambassador and parliamentarian Ratu Manasa Kikau Seniloli. He is an IT database specialist with more than 20 years of experience at strategic national and regional organisations.

He is also a keen farmer in Vunikavikaloa, Ra, according to the SODELPA Facebook page.

He says: “Urban bias exists. Urban bias is the development of urban areas at the expense of the rural areas. There is a real need for an equitable provision to services so we can at least have equal access to it.”

He has a Post Graduate Diploma in Management. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science & Programming from the US.

Mr Tikoduadua, who has not made much noise, is understood to be working quietly behind the scenes. He and his team have been holding pocket meetings in villages, particularly those along the Wainibuka River. He has been trying to counter FijiFirst’s gains there.

The tense battle is expected to escalate once the writ of elections is issued. Mr Tikoduadua has an advantage because he knows FijiFirst’s modus operandi. But recent Fiji Sun-Razor polls show that NFP is struggling to improve its standing in the Central, Western and Northern Divisions. NFP may be gaining inroads in Tailevu, but it is not reflected in the polls nationally.

Based on preliminary reports this is a likely ranking of the likely candidates who come from Tailevu:

1) Voreqe Bainimarama

2) Inia Seruiratu

3) Jiosefa Dulakiverata

4) Ratu Isoa Tikoca

5) Pio Tikoduadua

6) Adi Litia Qionibaravi

7) Ratu Jone Rabici Seniloli


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