NEWS

It’s All Happening Soon In Parliament

It’s a new beginning of sorts. Fiji’s new Parliament convenes next week in the renovated chambers that accommodated the august body until the coups of 1987. It then moved to
01 Oct 2014 11:33
It’s All Happening Soon In Parliament
Engulfed ...the fire at the Fijian Trust Fund In Nasova. Photo: Naisa Koroi

It’s a new beginning of sorts. Fiji’s new Parliament convenes next week in the renovated chambers that accommodated the august body until the coups of 1987. It then moved to Veiuto, where the 2000 coup again jarred the sensibilities of ordinary Fijians. Come next Monday, Fijian parliamentarians will begin writing their own annals of Parliamentary democracy.

The first session of parliament next week will get straight down to business:

1)            The 50 members of parliament will be sworn-in by the Secretary-General to Parliament Veniana Namosimalua

2)            Parliament will then elect a Speaker for the House, who will be sworn-in by the Secretary-General. At the moment, it is expected that former Minister for Women, Dr Jiko Luveni, will assume the distinguished position, the first woman in Fiji’s parliamentary history to do so.

3)            The Parliament will elect a Deputy Speaker. Under the parliamentary standing orders, the Deputy Speaker will be chosen from amongst the ordinary members of Parliament. There are no known frontrunners for this position at the moment.

4)            Parliament will also elect a Leader of the Opposition based on nomination, expected to be Ro Teimumu Kepa, of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA). She leads the majority opposition party with 15 seats followed by the National Federation Party with three seats.

5)            Following these appointments, Parliament will have to adjourn until a time appointed by the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to hear his speech, expected to be soon after the opening of Parliament.

It’s worthy noting that only 12 per cent of the current Parliament have any parliamentary experience.

The most experienced of the lot, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, was absent from the Members of Parliament (MP) Induction programme yesterday at the Holiday Inn, Suva. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation he has a lot on his plate at the moment. He has been busy at the United Nations in New York where Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama addressed the General Assembly.

Ratu Inoke has been involved in Government and Parliament since 1987 and held several major portfolios.

Also not at the parliamentary induction yesterday was Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Tui Cakau, former minister and parliamentarian under the governments’ of Sitiveni Rabuka and Laisenia Qarase. Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum filled in for Mr Bainimarama who is still on his way from the United States.

All FijiFirst, SODELPA and NFP parliamentarians sat cordially besides each other at the Holiday Inn Induction programme, as they listened to the presentations.

Once the robust debates start in Parliament, they may not remain so cordial with each other. But all that begins next Monday.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj




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