NEWS

SODELPA Gives Singh BOOT

Lawyer Vijay Singh has been relieved of his position as a vice-president of SODELPA. The party has written to Mr Singh, former president of the suspended People’s Democratic Party (PDP),
23 Jan 2018 13:55
SODELPA Gives Singh BOOT
From left: Lynda Tabuya, SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka and Vijay Singh.

Lawyer Vijay Singh has been relieved of his position as a vice-president of SODELPA.

The party has written to Mr Singh, former president of the suspended People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and informed him that his election has been nullified because he was not a financial member during the December 9 poll.

But on January 4, he paid his subscription and now becomes eligible as a financial member to contest the post again in the next assembly, sometime before June.

SODELPA took the action against Mr Singh after the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, ruled Mr Singh’s election breached the Political Parties decree. Mr Saneem also referred the case to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

Under the party constitution, any person must be a financial member before contesting an election for a position  in the party.

When asked yesterday whether he had been stood down, Mr Singh’s initial
response was: “Yes and no.”

But he confirmed that he was no longer a vice-president and had accepted his fate. He also confirmed he had paid his party subscription and planned to contest the next election for the post as a financial member. He said he was still waiting for FICAC to contact him.

Mr Singh said: “The party had written to me and we had spoken because I wasn’t a financial member at the time of my election as vice-president.

“Actually I did not know that I would win the election. There was an overwhelming majority support for me. I pulled the highest vote. It was very encouraging. Apparently it was an oversight on my part that I should have been a member to contest.”

But he said he later notified the party that he was a not financial member.

“My position was nullified on that ground,” he said.

He said the memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed on the same day as his election, between SODELPA and PDP was part of the party’s efforts to unify the opposition parties in a grand coalition against the FijiFirst Government in the coming general election.

He said they had talked with the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) about fighting the election under one banner. The PDP, he said, was a breakway group from the FLP.

In the 2014 general election both parties failed to achieve the five per cent threshold of votes to win a seat because they split the votes from the country’s workers. Mr Singh said if PDP had not contested the last election, FLP would have won seats. But the move to come to a working agreement this time between the two parties did not materialise, he said. He claimed FLP said it was referring the matter to its board. He said the delay prompted PDP to go with SODELPA.

He said he did not have any reservation, about SODELPA’s policies on indigenous issues.

“It’s a mainstream iTaukei party  and is a multiracial party. They protect iTaukei and other cultures too.”

On PDP’s suspension, he said: “I will leave those comments to my leader.”

He said he would not contest the next general election, but would like to work for the party’s administration if needed.

In the 2014 general election, he polled less than 500 votes.

An internal storm appears to be brewing in SODELPA over Mr Singh’s case.

Transparency, accountability and governance issues are at the centre of a debate on the implications of the case.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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