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ANALYSIS: Chaudhry Master Politician

Mahendra Chaudhry yesterday again stamped his mark as a master politician. He did not step down as leader of the Fiji Labour Party as earlier expected. Instead he left it
02 Aug 2015 11:57
ANALYSIS: Chaudhry Master Politician
Mahendra Chaudhry

Mahendra Chaudhry yesterday again stamped his mark as a master politician.

He did not step down as leader of the Fiji Labour Party as earlier expected.

Instead he left it to the delegates to decide, even though he had earlier said he was ready to hand over the reins to someone else.

But his successor could not be found so he agreed to stay on. That came as no surprise. It was the worst kept secret that no one was being groomed.

The ones that could have succeeded him like Felix Anthony had defected from the party to other political parties because they disagreed with his leadership style. Mr Anthony went on to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

In politics there is usually no such thing as succession planning where future leaders are groomed to take over one day. It is very much an individual desire and effort.

Mr Chaudhry, 73, is a shrewd politician. As he looked around yesterday he knew there was no one present with his calibre  to take over. These are his die-hard supporters who have stuck with him during his rollercoaster political journey, from the sugar cane belts to the towns and cities.

 

Only other pioneer

Many who were with him when the FLP was born prior to the 1987 general election have either died or joined other political parties. The only other pioneer still active today is Lavinia Padarath who recently turned 70. She is the president of the FLP.

It would not be surprising if Mr Chaudhry has one final shot at returning to Parliament in 2018. He will be 76 then.

His speech at the celebration to mark the party’s 30th birthday yesterday seemed like he was firing the opening salvo of his election campaign.

 

2014 Allegations

He claimed the 2014 election was “carefully orchestrated, the entire election machinery starting with the imposed 2013 Constitution, the Voter Registration and Political Parties Decree and later the Electoral Decree were all manipulated to ensure that the status quo, in place since 2009, continued after the elections.”

The FLP and PDP failed to win a seat. The independent election monitors, the Multinational Observer Group, ruled the election was transparent, fair and credible.

Mr Chaudhry’s original announcement to say he was going to relinquish his leadership was in fact a call to let everyone know that “ I’m here. We will see you in 2018.”

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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