NEWS

Co-operation Not Coalition, Rabuka Says

Sitiveni Rabuka has clarified that it’s co-operation and not coalition with other parties that SODELPA wants. The SODELPA leader made the clarification when he invited opposition parties to work together
23 Dec 2016 11:00
Co-operation Not Coalition, Rabuka Says
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka . INSET from left: Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry . National Federation Party leader, Biman Prasad

Sitiveni Rabuka has clarified that it’s co-operation and not coalition with other parties that SODELPA wants.

The SODELPA leader made the clarification when he invited opposition parties to work together for the 2018 general election.

At least two opposition political parties confirmed last night that they were keen to begin discussions about moving forward together.

Mr Rabuka, at a press conference yesterday, formally extended an invitation to the political parties in opposition and those not represented in Parliament to work together.

Former Prime Minister and Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry welcomed the move. Labour – once strong – is among parties which failed to win a seat in the 2014 elections. Mr Chaudhry was in the coalition government removed from power in the military coup Mr Rabuka led in 1987.

Mr Chaudhry said it was important to have a strong and united opposition. He had made the same call in the lead-up to the 2014 General Elections.

“I think the idea is finally sinking in. We must unite if we want to change the Government.”

A statement was also issued yesterday by the Fiji United Freedom Party president/party leader Jagath Karunaratne.

“It is refreshing to see the message by SODELPA as the biggest opposition party to include the parties that are not represented in the Parliament in their invitation while the younger parties are generally ignored as so called ‘small parties’ in many instances.”

National Federation Party leader, Biman Prasad, said he would comment today as he had just arrived back in the country. The National Federation Party won just three seats in 2014.

Mr Rabuka knows that no single opposition party can go it alone in 2018.

He emphasised that it was not a coalition but a co-operation.

Details on how the co-operation will pan out remains sketchy. But at least four opposition political parties are keen to begin talks.

It is understood that their first meeting is set for next week.

Both Mr Rabuka and Mr Chaudhry agree that a lot of ground work remains to be done. Mr Rabuka is also aware there are those who have not forgiven him for what happened in 1987.

 

SODELPA Unity

Mr Rabuka also addressed the issue of divisions which have plagued SODELPA. He said that the SODELPA Management Board and leadership are united in their resolve for victory in 2018.

“The SODELPA Leadership have had continuing discussions – that is, the Party President, the Leader of Opposition and the Party Leader. We are united in our stand to work together with the other parties and determine the best way to move forward and defeat the ruling party at the next polls.”

At SODELPA’s year-end event held earlier in the week, the Leader of Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa reiterated her call for the party and the Members of Parliament to work in unity, be vigilant, and ensure that they continue to work for their people.

 

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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