NEWS

Party Leader Changes Mind For 2018

Veteran politician Mahendra Chaudhry wants to lead his Fiji Labour Party into the 2018 General Elections. At the Fiji Labour Party annual delegates conference at the Lautoka Sea Breeze Hotel,
02 Aug 2015 11:51
Party Leader Changes Mind For 2018
Fiji Labour Party president Lavinia Padarath (fourth from left), is fed with cake at the Fiji Labour Party’s 30th anniversary yesterday. Photo: Sheetal Prasad

Veteran politician Mahendra Chaudhry wants to lead his Fiji Labour Party into the 2018 General Elections.

At the Fiji Labour Party annual delegates conference at the Lautoka Sea Breeze Hotel, the former Prime Minister accepted the party’s request to remain as party leader, despite earlier indicating he could step down.

“I proposed that the party should consider the matter and there was discussion on this and they have resolved that there should not be any change in the leadership for the moment,” he said.

“They have said that the management board should look at the matter but at the moment it is time for the party to consolidate and they did not see a need for a change at this point in time.

“This was an annual delegate’s conference which dealt with party matters as required by the constitution; this is the supreme body of the party which meets once a year.”

Much of the conference was closed to the media yesterday and the announcement of Mr Chaudhry’s re-appointment was only made at a press conference afterwards.

Party delegates also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the party, a tumultuous history that has included twice being elected into Government and twice being ousted by coups. In 1987, Dr Timoci Bavadra’s Government was overthrown in a coup led by then Lieutenant-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, then in 2000 Mahendra Chaudhry’s Government was overthrown by militants led by George Speight.

Yesterday, Mr Chaudhry showed he had lost little of his appetite for politics, using the press conference to throw a few barbs at the Bainimarama Government.

“The Prime Minister is going around like Father Christmas all over the country distributing goodies and freebees and campaigning in the process; the national consultation on development plan is another FijiFirst campaign at public expense.

“So you can see the lop-sidedness of the whole political scenario here, where the other parties are prevented from doing their rightful duty as Opposition parties.

“The FijiFirst is going all around all over the country at public expense campaigning without any restrictions or constraints.

“I think it is most unethical, you look at the way the Opposition is restricted in Parliament, the Parliament’s not free, being gagged and next year it will sit only for four weeks and we do not know what business they will be able to transact in those four weeks,” he said.

Mr Chaudhry expressed concern about the speculated fall in the price of cane to $50 a tonne after the end of preferential access to the European Union markets, assistance for drought-stricken farmers, submissions to the national budget consultation process and also debate on a new national flag.

The Bainimarama Government has already highlighted the various measures it has implemented in anticipation of the end to preferential access to the European markets and drought mitigation.

It has also fully explained the consultation process and objectives.

Feedback: sheetal.prasad@fijisun.com.fj

 

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