NATION

ANALYSIS: NFP Pulling Away From FLP In Election Race

The National Federation Party is winning the battle for Indo-Fijian and iTaukei votes against the Fiji Labour Party. Recent opinion polls indicate that FLP is struggling to find traction. This
02 Nov 2018 12:31
ANALYSIS: NFP Pulling Away From FLP In Election Race
National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad launches NFP’s manifesto at the Vunimono Community Hall in Nausori on November 1, 2018. Photo: Ashna Kumar

The National Federation Party is winning the battle for Indo-Fijian and iTaukei votes against the Fiji Labour Party.

Recent opinion polls indicate that FLP is struggling to find traction. This might change with the release of its manifesto yesterday. But the bulk of the FLP manifesto was predictable. The significant feature is the $3.50 minimum wage rate.

How do these two parties which once battled for the Indo-Fijian votes and seats in the race-based politics of old now stand?

Leadership

Labour’s biggest challenge in this election is leadership. Mahendra Chaudhry still remains the face of the party when it should be Aman Ravindra Singh who is the parliamentary leader. Mr Chaudhry retains the party leader role although he is not standing for the election because of his conviction on a foreign currency exchange offence.

NFP, on the other hand, has a clear leader in Biman Prasad who the party has promoted extensively. People want clarity and decisive leadership. They are seeing Mr Prasad as the leader but confused over who is leading FLP in this election.

 

Candidate lineup

The NFP has a stronger lineup of candidates contesting all 51 seats. Its billboard is promoting Mr Prasad, party president Pio Tikoduadua, Seini Nabou, Lenora Qereqeretabua and Ridhi Damodar. They are all well known public faces. NFP has stronger iTaukei, Indo-Fijian and women support than FLP.

FLP has a bunch of new faces who will struggle. This is how they fare on other issues:

 

Minimum Wage Rate

The NFP has not been forthcoming with details about the $5 an hour minimum wage. We now learn that it will not happen immediately but it will be implemented in stages to see if they are affordable. It has even ventured to tell the people that it will top up what employers can afford.

FLP has studied all policies and offered $3.50 an hour immediately. That’s more realistic than what  NFP ($5), SODELPA ($4) and HOPE ($10) are offering.

 

Education

NFP will provide free tuition for first-year students at tertiary level. It has not said that it will extend it to year two and beyond, obviously realising the cost it will incur.

FLP will reduce loan repayment to 50 per cent for students who successfully complete their course of study under TELS. It will continue with free education in primary to secondary schools. In addition, it will provide an allowance to parents. It does not say how much.

 

Health

NFP will provide free dialysis for kidney sufferers who earn less than $30,000 and all medicine purchases will be VAT-free.

FLP will undertake a study to establish a National Health Insurance Scheme through the FNPF to provide medical cover to all workers and their families. The cover will also be available to others at affordable rates.

 

Media

Both parties will remove provisions of the media law that they feel are restrictive.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 


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