Sunvoice

So, Who Will Biman Prasad Speak For?

All eyes will no doubt be on the Opposition Budget response on Monday in Parliament. But whose agenda is it that will be brought to the fore? New SODELPA leader
30 Jun 2016 11:44
So, Who Will Biman Prasad Speak For?
National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad.

All eyes will no doubt be on the Opposition Budget response on Monday in Parliament. But whose agenda is it that will be brought to the fore?

New SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka has already criticised the National Federation Party (NFP) on its stand on the military. He has already called out Leader Biman Prasad and president Tupou Draunidola on their narrow views about military spending.

So, when Mr Prasad stands to speak in Parliament on the Budget, whose views will be put out in the open? NFP’s? Or the SODELPA-dominated Opposition of whom he is the Ro Teimumu Kepa-appointed Finance spokesman?

What actually is SODELPA’s view? Is it that promoted by their new party leader or is it the view of their Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu whose views seem to mirror those of NFP’s Ms Draunidalo?

There is also a matter of principled approach. NFP is not doing well in this area. If anything, their rhetoric on coups rings hollow when their past association with Mr Rabuka’s former SVT party comes to mind.

And how long will Mr Rabuka keep quiet on how SODELPA performs in Parliament?

This is especially so with him expected to lead SODELPA into the 2018 election campaign and try to make inroads into FijiFirst’s strong and growing support.

The Budget debate is very important. Not only for political parties but also for their voters. The election campaigning is approaching faster than some may think.

And, while Ms Draunidalo has not minced her words in public about not working with a “coup-maker’’ she has also been shooting arrows from her Facebook page towards SODELPA.

Meanwhile, FijiFirst Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has come up with a strong, well thought out Budget, one that promotes a lot of key sectors. One that brings value to many.

Yes, Monday’s Budget response by Mr Prasad as Opposition Finance spokesperson will generate a lot of interest.

But, who will he be really speaking for? If he questions the spending on the military how will that sit with new SODELPA leader Mr Rabuka? And will Mr Prasad be pushing the agenda of NFP with one eye on the 2018 elections campaign? Or will he be promoting the interests of SODELPA whose members dominate the Opposition side despite him having such a key Opposition role.

Lots of questions in what are interesting times regarding those on the Opposition side of the House

Jyoti Pratibha

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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