Analysis

Lynda Strengthening Her Campaign For Party Leadership Battle

Her contribution to the former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's funeral adds to growing popularity. She could become the compromise candidate in the party splitting down the middle over the landmark court ruling.
01 May 2020 11:50
Lynda Strengthening Her Campaign For Party Leadership Battle
Opposition Whip, Lynda Tabuya (closest to camera) with mourners in Mavana Village, Vanuabalavu, Lau.

Whatever they say about her in SODELPA, Lynda Tabuya is stepping up her campaign for party leader.

The Opposition Whip not only bought the coffin for the late former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, she travelled to Mavana Village in Vanuabalavu, Lau to attend his funeral.

Prior to that she surprised many except her inner circle when she contested the Nasinu Constituency election for president.

Her landslide victory is an ominous sign for her opponents. She has been working hard and building her grassroots support which she has been extending beyond the boundaries of the densely populated Nasinu area.

The late Mr Qarase, who helped form SODELPA, had his own following from his SDL days. They included some of the plaintiffs in the court case against SODELPA and its officials.

Mrs Tabuya wants their support to bolster her internal rating.

They would have preferred Mr Qarase to return to lead SODELPA but his ill-health scuttled that.

They are not keen on caretaker leader Sitiveni Rabuka after the party’s 2018 election loss.

Ms Tabuya has tried to stay on the middle road calling for unity and recognising Mr Rabuka as the leader for now. She comes out as the voice of reason in the current tumultuous journey of SODELPA.

If she plays her cards right, she could emerge as the right candidate for leader.

But she has a few hurdles she needs to overcome.

She was linked to the Rabuka camp in the 2018 election. She has learned from that experience and has gradually moved to the centre in the hope that she can pick up more support.

She was vehemently opposed to the controversial annual general meeting being held at Yaroi Village, Savusavu .

She wanted it in Suva where she could show the strength of her grassroot support.

She was, it was speculated, thinking of contesting the post of president. She would have no show in Savusavu.

There is a suggestion that she goes for deputy leader with Mr Rabuka as leader going into the 2022 election.

In this plan, she will wait until Mr Rabuka steps down and that can only happen if SODELPA loses again in the next election. She will then have to deal with the fallout and it could a hard road back to the top.

The other option is to go for Mr Rabuka’s post now and establish her intention right from the start that she can lead the party to SODELPA’s dream of an election victory.

The next AGM is likely to be in Suva where she has the golden opportunity to stamp her mark.

She represents the young people and they are expected to make the difference in 2022.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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