Group Moots Two-Party Election, says Tavola

The long term assessment of the Fijian political landscape is that it would be ideal to have only two parties, it has been revealed. The assessment came from a policy
30 May 2017 11:00
Group Moots Two-Party Election, says Tavola
Kaliopate Tavola, Adi Sivia Qoro, Savenaca Narube

The long term assessment of the Fijian political landscape is that it would be ideal to have only two parties, it has been revealed.

The assessment came from a policy analysis think-tank which later developed into a political movement culminating in the proposed Unity Fiji Party.

Kaliopate Tavola, one of the pioneers of the movement, disclosed for the first time yesterday the events that led to the birth of the proposed party. But the high-profile economist who once served as a diplomat, foreign affairs, external trade, sugar minister and politician, said he was no longer involved with the proposed party.

“I have given all the support I can in setting it up and some documentation,” Mr Tavola said.

“I have said to them I am no longer part of it. I am finished with politics. I don’t get any information from them any more.”

But he said he would be a “keen observer.”

He revealed the origins of the proposed party.

“We started talking about a need for a policy analysis capability,” he said.

“I am going back to the early days.  Consultant Adi Sivia Qoro, former governor of RBF Savenaca Narube, we were involved right from the start. I don’t know who is involved right now. I am no longer part of that now.”

Mr Narube could not be reached to comment yesterday. He was reportedly on his way to Nadi for what was believed to be a meeting with Adi Sivia Qoro. Adi Sivia Qoro said last night she was in a meeting in Nadi and would return the call later. But she had not when this edition went to press.

Mr Tavola said: “There is a need to look at certain policies, analyse them and come up with policy statements that would be available to various Governments in the region. So that’s how we started. “We felt that there was a need for that not only in Fiji but in the region as well.

“We wanted to start an Institute of Political Analysis that was non-political. It was basically looking at Government policies and the need to come up with good policies that will maximise development and reach out to all the beneficiaries and communities.

“Lots of countries have that capability. They have an institute that analyse policies and come up with new policy statements. That’s what we were starting to discuss.

“Then it got into the need for a political party. Not long after that it was not for me. It was time for me to do what I like doing best.”

Yesterday he returned from Tonga, attending a Talanoa Group of the Australian-funded International Union of Conservation and Nature and Pacific Leaders Programme (Full report tomorrow).

He said when the Fijian group started, they looked at the Constitution, the electoral system, what happened in the last election.

“There were too many parties. And there were independents but they did not meet the five per cent threshold and lost out.

“From there, we got what we need for Fiji in terms of the new Constitution and the new electoral system. It’s perhaps something like in the US where they have only two main parties and so the electors would still have a choice of an alternative Government waiting in the wing.

“We thought that with the new Constitution and new electoral systems what we at least need is two basic parties so that the electors can still have a choice if they want to go with the Government at that time if not they still have a choice to change the Government.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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