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SODELPA MPs Debate Support for Suspended Partners

Boycott of Parliament was among ideas discussed by SODELPA’s parliamentary caucus yesterday to support the three suspended National Federation Party Members of Parliament. One of the three, Tupou Draunidalo, also
05 Feb 2016 11:35
SODELPA MPs Debate Support for Suspended Partners
SODELPA

Boycott of Parliament was among ideas discussed by SODELPA’s parliamentary caucus yesterday to support the three suspended National Federation Party Members of Parliament.

One of the three, Tupou Draunidalo, also attended the meeting. The other two are Biman Prasad and Prem Singh.

It is understood that SODELPA MPs debated whether they should join the fray and support their Opposition junior partner.

One group argued that it was a matter of principle that they should support their partner.

But the opposing group said SODELPA owed the suspended NFP nothing. In fact on two occasions, the suspended NFP did not go with SODELPA on major decisions. One was the boycott of Parliament when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was here.

SODELPA stayed out, but the suspended NFP attended. The second occasion was the voting for the election of the President. SODELPA nominated and voted for Ratu Epeli Ganilau, but the suspended NFP had other ideas.

No decision was made on the boycott idea. Parliament convenes on Monday in the first sitting this year. Yesterday’s meeting was to draw a battle plan.

Another contentious issue discussed yesterday was the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee, which is held by Mr Prasad. The Government came under attack. MP Aseri Radrodro’s alleged involvement was also questioned.There was some frank and open discussion that reopened old wounds. Mr Radrodro is one of the reformers in the winning ground in their crusade for change to save the party from self destruction. He has apparently denied any allegation of coalition with Government to undermine Mr Prasad’s position.

Mr Radrodro has been tipped as the next PAC chairman with the backing of Government. If Mr Radrodro declines, Government could seek an amendment in law which would see a Government nominee taking up the position. But, for this to happen, the amendment would need to go before a committee before it is tabled in Parliament.

Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni ended speculation yesterday when she confirmed that  Mr Prasad, Ms Draunidalo and Mr Singh would not be in Parliament on Monday. She said she had sought legal advice, which has clarified the following:

(i) The suspension of the registration of a political party has the effect of suspending that political party and all its members from Parliament;

(ii) This means that any such suspended political party and all its members cannot participate in Parliament or in any of the committees of Parliament; and

(iii) Furthermore, the political party or any of its members cannot be entitled to any remuneration from Parliament for the duration of the suspension. Therefore I will be writing immediately to the individual members affected to inform them of the same.”

PAC member Balmindar Singh yesterday confirmed that the Committee was to meet this week to finalise their meeting schedule for the year. Edited by Maraia Vula

 

 

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