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ANALYSIS: PDP Pulling Out Spells End To Unity Talks

The idea of a proposed coalition of Opposition parties is virtually dead. It is not making progress and is doomed to fail. The differences among them are too big and
30 Sep 2017 10:00
ANALYSIS: PDP Pulling Out Spells End To Unity Talks
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka

The idea of a proposed coalition of Opposition parties is virtually dead.

It is not making progress and is doomed to fail.

The differences among them are too big and complex that it is not practical to form a united front.

The People’s Democratic Party has decided that, like the National Federation Party, it will fight the 2018 General Election alone.

It’s the first sign of a major crack in their unity move.

PDP’s decision to pull out of efforts to stay united did not come as a surprise. It is expected to have a domino effect.

The next party that is likely to go out of the talks is SODELPA.

The PDP has given up waiting for some concrete developments about a coalition. So far it’s only been talk.

The deep-seated rivalry between PDP and Mahendra Chaudhry’s Fiji Labour Party is the biggest stumbling block for PDP and for any meaningful relationship between the two.

It goes without saying that any pact has to be genuine.

Their rivalry goes back to the heyday of FLP when it was the voice of the workers through the Fiji Trades Union Congress.

FTUC General Secretary Felix Anthony objected to Mr Chaudhry’s leadership style and defected to help form the PDP as a rival party to FLP.

The consequence was that neither party won a seat in the 2014 election.

Mr Anthony stepped down as PDP leader and returned to his FTUC job.

It is not clear whether he is still active.

But PDP appears to be only a shadow of its 2014 image after Adi Sivia Qoro, one of the pioneers, resigned.

She later joined the new Unity Fiji Party.

Lynda Tabuya, who has taken over as leader, is the lone voice of the party. It is unclear whether Mr Anthony is still a member of PDP.

Party supporters feel that PDP may have a better chance fighting the election alone than joining forces with other parties.

Interestingly, there are those in SODELPA’s hierarchy, who think the same.

Trying to form a coalition is a waste of time because of its practical difficulties, they say.

So don’t be surprised if SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka follows Ms Tabuya and announces a cessation of talks to focus on their election campaign.

Without PDP and SODELPA the unity move is virtually dead.

That leaves FLP and Fiji United Freedom Party to fly the unity flag.

Both are unlikely to be of significance in this election.

They failed to win a seat in the 2014 General Election.

Some in SODELPA are wary of FLP which is desperate to recapture its glory days and would do anything to achieve that objective.

The only issue that has been able to bring the Opposition parties together so far is their joint submission on electoral reforms.

As the election draws closer, parties are finding out that they are running out of time and they need to focus on their individual campaigns.

They have no time or resources to attend coalition talks.

 

Edited by Mohammed Ali

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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