NATION

Rabuka Targets Magic 50,000, All Not Happy

ANALYSIS: Sitiveni  Rabuka is on the roll in his campaign as SODELPA leader. His target is at least 50,000 votes in the 2018 general election. That will surpass the 49,485
06 May 2017 11:00
Rabuka Targets Magic 50,000, All Not Happy
Sitiveni Rabuka

ANALYSIS: Sitiveni  Rabuka is on the roll in his campaign as SODELPA leader.

His target is at least 50,000 votes in the 2018 general election.

That will surpass the 49,485 votes scored by his predecessor, Ro Teimumu Kepa in the 2014 general election.

But, it is understood that some SODELPA MPs were concerned that they were not included in the campaign so far. If they were invited to go they would have loved to join their leader, it is understood. Other stakeholders, like the party’s Youth Wing members would also love to join Mr Rabuka.

This has led to speculation that Mr Rabuka is focused on touching base with the grassroots to build a personal rapport with the voters. This is essential if he is to poll at least 50,000 votes.

Achieving this figure is symbolically significant for Mr Rabuka. It will show that his election as leader was right because of the popular vote.

He faces several challenges. He is not a chief like Ro Teimumu, the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi, paramount chief of the Burebasaga Confederacy.

She had an advantage because of her traditional subjects who will always vote for her no matter what the situation is. She had the support of the Youth Wing.

She captured many of the overseas iTaukei votes and votes from far-flung islands of the Lau Group. Most of her remaining votes came from Viti Levu.

Mr Rabuka is building from the ground up, using his charisma and political experience to win people over.

He will need the support of SODELPA candidates to get over the line. The candidates would have to tell their supporters: “A vote for Rabuka is a vote for the party.”

The same tactic was used by FijiFirst in the 2014 general election. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama polled 202,459 votes of the total 293,714 FijiFirst votes.

The SODELPA MPs in question are also not sure how they will end up on the party list. If they are low on the ranking then there is a possibility they may miss out on a seat. The only sure way they will get a seat is to do it on their own steam rather than relying on the leader – which means they will ask their voters to vote for them instead of Mr Rabuka.

Mr Rabuka faces huge pressure from the party to win the election. If he fails, he loses his party leadership. That’s what the party constitution dictates. It forced Ro Teimumu to step down as party leader. Mr Rabuka must suffer the same fate if SODELPA fails to form the next government.

Mr Rabuka will capture a bulk his votes in Vanua Levu, the heart of his support base. But that’s not enough. He will need many more votes to surpass Ro Teimumu’s votes.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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