NEWS

Let’s Not Waste Votes, Urges Chaudhry

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said it was only he and former United People’s Party leader Mick Beddoes who advocated for all opposition parties to fight under one banner.
04 Jan 2018 10:51
Let’s Not Waste Votes, Urges Chaudhry
Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said it was only he and former United People’s Party leader Mick Beddoes who advocated for all opposition parties to fight under one banner.

He said Labour mooted the idea during the 2014 elections that all opposition parties agree on a seat-sharing agreement and fight the election with a single manifesto.

Speaking at the opening of the party’s Lautoka office yesterday, Mr Chaudhry said:   “Unfortunately this was not possible and the only two people advocating this were me and Mick Beddoes.

“Initially there were discussions but as time went by parties decided to go on their own.

“This time around we went through the same drill.

“The National Federation Party (NFP) wants to fight on its own while PDP (People’s Democratic Party) has joined SODELPA.

“With the (electoral) system now, political parties and even independents need to get at least five percent of the total votes.

“In the coming elections the estimated five percent of the threshold is 30,000, so any party must at least get 5 per cent of the threshold to get a seat in Parliament.”

In the 2014 General Elections, Labour received 11,670 votes or 2.40 per cent.

Prior to this, Labour stalwarts led by Felix Anthony broke away from the party and formed PDP which received 15,864 or 3.2 per cent.

Mr Chaudhry said NFP got into Parliament by making the threshold, but if FLP and PDP were together, they would have polled more votes than NFP.

“If they had been together those votes would not have been lost,” Mr Chaudhry said.

“It is important that parties contesting elections not waste that vote.

“This time around we want to redouble our efforts and to make sure that we don’t lose our votes.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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