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Fiji’s Opposition Leader Reveals Decision To Choose Government Nominee As Speaker Splits SODELPA

“After I listened to their views, I realised that although some were willing to go along with my instructions some had reservations so I decided to withdraw my instructions and discuss it,”
13 Feb 2019 10:02
Fiji’s Opposition Leader Reveals Decision To Choose Government Nominee As Speaker Splits SODELPA
Leader Of Opposition, Sitiveni Rabuka

 

It was a sign of no confidence in my leadership, says SODELPA and Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

Mr Rabuka yesterday revealed to the Fiji Sun that he had asked his Party not to nominate anyone as Speaker but to support Ratu Epeli Nailatikau’s nomination.

He gave a chronology of how he had chaired a Party caucus meeting on Friday (08/02/2019) where he had put forward suggestion that if Government nominates Ratu Epeli, SODELPA to support it.

This was agreed on and based on the agreement, he informed National Federation Party of their decision and asked that they too support Ratu Epeli’s nomination.

He said everyone at the meeting agreed to vote for Ratu Epeli however those who were not present later expressed their dissatisfaction.

“When I left the meeting on Friday some dissatisfaction came up from those who were not at the caucus meeting that I had chaired where we had made the decision,” Mr Rabuka said.

“After we had made the decision, I informed Professor Biman and he agreed that we should support the Honourable Speaker of today.”

He said he was informed about the dissatisfaction from the other members on Monday morning before Parliament sitting.

“When I was informed of the dissatisfaction in the caucus on Friday I decided I would withdraw my instruction and ask for everybody to give their views,” he said.

While he refused to name those who opposed it, it is understood the opposition was led by Niko Nawaikula.

“After I listened to their views, I realised that although some were willing to go along with my instructions some had reservations so I decided to withdraw my instructions and discuss it,” he said.

Mr Rabuka said he told the party that: “It was a show of no confidence in my leadership.”

He said he had given his full support to Ratu Epeli when they met on February 6 at the Waitangi Day celebrations at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s Residence.

“I asked him whether he was going to be nominated for speaker but he did not give me a definite answer but I told him if he is going to be nominated by government, we will support him.

“He was the former Speaker, former President, my former boss.

“I know him to be a man of good character. He will perform to the best of his ability in the august house as Speaker.”

Mr Rabuka was not present at yesterday’s Parliament sitting because he was at a funeral. SODELPA went on to nominate lawyer Tanya Waqanika for the Speaker position.

Ratu Epeli was voted in easily.

Edited by Jyoti Pratibha

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