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ANALYSIS: Who Will Replace Rabuka As New SODELPA Leader?

The Social Democratic Lib­eral Party (SODELPA) will be looking for a new party leader after the final election re­sults are announced today. That’s according to the party’s constitution, which stipulates
18 Nov 2018 10:00
ANALYSIS: Who Will Replace Rabuka As New SODELPA Leader?
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka outside Court on September 14, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The Social Democratic Lib­eral Party (SODELPA) will be looking for a new party leader after the final election re­sults are announced today.

That’s according to the party’s constitution, which stipulates that if the party loses a general elec­tion, the party leader automatical­ly loses the role – unless there has been further amendment allowing Sitiveni Rabuka to continue – in which case it has never been made public.

Mr Rabuka told FBC TV last night that the party leader post would become vacant.

He indirectly quashes an earlier report that a petition had been cir­culated among election candidates to sign to support him as leader win or lose the election.

That would have been unconsti­tutional anyway.

Mr Rabuka is expected to move ahead and be nominated, on a par­ty directive, to become Opposition leader.

After Parliament convenes, his name will be put forward to a vote by SODELPA’s 21 MPs’ and the National Federation Party’s three MPs, who make up the Opposition.

He will be in the same position as Ro Teimumu Kepa minus the par­ty leader post, which she gave up after the constitution was amend­ed midway during her parliamen­tary term.

The constitutional change has created a dilemma for SODELPA, whether to pick a new leader out­side or in Parliament.

Wouldn’t it be awkward having the party leader and the Opposi­tion leader sitting in the same caucus meeting with their clearly defined roles?

Another question is whether an MP would have the time to act as party leader and fulfill the two roles?

Mr Rabuka, leader outside Par­liament, did better than Ro Teimu­mu by the number of seats that SODELPA won.

Those considered suitable for the party leader role are likely to be sitting in the new Parliament.

They include Anare Jale (vice-president), Viliame Gavoka, Salote Radrodro and even Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, the current party president.

But there is no shortage for the deputy party leader role.

The list includes, Lynda Tabuya, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Aseri Radrodro, Mosese Bulitavu, Dr Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu and Niko Nawaikula.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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