NEWS

Laisenia Qarase Support Grows

The party leader post became vacant when Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka resigned after SODELPA lost the 2018 election as stipulated by the party constitution.
19 Apr 2019 10:20
Laisenia Qarase Support Grows
Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Support is growing rapidly for Laisenia Qarase to become SODELPA leader and take the team into the 2022 General Election.

The former Social Democratic Liberal Party Prime Minister was the popular choice in a random survey.

Those who gave their opinions did so on the condition of anonymity.

The party leader post became vacant when Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka resigned after SODELPA lost the 2018 election as stipulated by the party constitution.

One response which echoed the majority sentiments said: “Mr Qarase has a broad appeal. He will close the gulf between the North and South and really unite SODELPA.”

Doubts about his eligibility to hold office and contest the election after his conviction of abuse of office and sentence of 12 months imprisonment in 2012 have been cleared.

The Political Parties Act Section 5 (3) says a person is disqualified from being an office holder of a political party that is registered under this Act if that person has, in the five years preceding the date when he or she applies to become an office holder of the political party:

(b) been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than six months.

The five years ended in 2017.

In the 2013 Constitution, under the title, Candidates for Election to Parliament section 56.— (2) says the candidate:

(g) has not, at any time during the eight years immediately before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law for which the maximum penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more; and

(h) has not been found guilty of any offence under a law relating to elections, registration of political parties or registration of voters. The eight years expires in 2020 and Mr Qarase can contest the 2022 election.

Mr Rabuka has indicated that he wants to be party leader again if it can be constitutionally resolved. He would have to face Mr Qarase in a contest.

Mr Rabuka who returned to Suva from Vanua Levu last night said he was too tired to talk but said “text”. Questions were texted to him but he had not replied when this edition went to press.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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