NEWS

Naitasiri Chiefs to Meet on SODELPA’s New Party Leader

Pro-FijiFirst traditional heads will also be there in unique vanua gathering Vanua chiefs of Naitasiri Province will meet on Friday to nominate who should be SODELPA party leader. This will
08 Jun 2016 10:08
Naitasiri Chiefs to Meet on SODELPA’s New Party Leader
SODELPA

Pro-FijiFirst traditional heads will also be there in unique vanua gathering

Vanua chiefs of Naitasiri Province will meet on Friday to nominate who should be SODELPA party leader.

This will be a unique meeting because a majority of the chiefs are pro-FijiFirst.

They are attending it because it’s a vanua meeting. SODELPA requires the provincial endorsement for those aspiring to become party leader. Anything that requires provincial input must involve the vanua chiefs, according to Naitasiri.

It is understood that at the vanua level, it is apolitical which means they leave their politics outside and discuss what is best for the province.

The chiefs have two options. One is to nominate someone from the province who will fight for the interests of the province.

The second is to back one of the five nominees whose nominations have been confirmed, with conditions attached. The five are a former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka (Cakaudrove), SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka (Nadroga), Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca (Tailevu), Anare Jale (Nasinu/Lau) and Mick Beddoes (part of Nadi).

It is believed that Naitasiri is the only one of the 14 provinces that uses this practice.

Naitasiri has been given a special dispensation by the party to go ahead with the meeting because the chiefs and their people were attending a chiefly funeral the week nominations closed (May 31).

It is understood they had requested for an extension well in advance.

This is not a normal SODELPA meeting. The chiefs take over because they want to ensure that whoever is nominated will not quickly forget Naitasiri.

After the meeting they go back to their various political parties.

Many of the chiefs used to back the Laisenia Qarase-led SDL government. But they had switched to FijiFirst because they were impressed with the developments done by the Bainimarama government. While they openly campaign for FijiFirst, they leave it to the people to exercise their choice.

In the 2014 general election, they helped put four Naitasiri candidates into Parliament, Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration Timoci Natuva, FijiFirst backbencher Alifereti Nabulivou and SODELPA MPs Aseri Radrodro and Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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