Analysis | Politics

Is This The End Of The Road For The Conservative Right Wingers Of Suspended SODELPA?

For some of them their individual political survival is at stake.
22 Jun 2020 11:21
Is This The End Of The Road For The Conservative Right Wingers Of Suspended SODELPA?

Are we going to see the conservative right wingers in suspended SODELPA take a back seat and toe the line?

Is this the end of the road for them?

Don’t write them off yet.

After their humiliating defeat by the moderates in the battle for power and control, they have been meeting to plan their next move.

Their resounding loss in the election for interim officials during last week’s Management Board emphatically showed a clear shift from the old to the new narrative.

While indigenous issues will still top the agenda they will be articulated in a more responsible, measured and principled approach.

The move is likely to be non adversarial and non-confrontational, but based on real and actual needs on the ground. It is expected to weed out any attempt to radicalise issues just for the sake of political grandstanding and cheap mileage.

In terms of getting things done, this type of strategy is ineffective. It hardens hearts and skewers attempts to foster national unity and conversation on important sensitive issues like indigenous rights, land, natural resources, education, health, housing and economic development. It has not worked and it will never work unless there is mutual trust and understanding that we are all working for a common goal – that is to raise the quality of life for iTaukei and other ethnic groups on the basis of need.

The moderates want suspended SODELPA to be truly multiracial and broaden its vision and reach to be seen as being worthy to form an alternative government.

At the moment, there is a lot of work to be done to clean up the suspended party of governance issues that have contributed to its current status.

This may not be popular with the conservative right wingers.

They have a number of options to choose from.

Regroup

They may regroup, sit back, bite the bullet and watch their opponents take the party forward. For six years they have worked hard to control the party only to lose to the moderates two years away from the 2022 election. Don’t be surprised that they will rebuild their network and support and wait for the right moment to pounce and regain their control of the party.

Quit and form new party

The second option is to quit, form a new party or join an existing party. Once they resign from the party their colleagues in Parliament automatically lose their parliamentary seats. Can they afford to do this with two years still left for the current parliamentary term?

It will be a tough call if some of the MPs depend on their parliamentary salaries for their only source of income.

They are most likely to wait until Parliament is prorogued.

Similar ideologies

The other challenge is for them to find a party that shares similar ideologies. The pro-indigenous platform must be modified to be compatible with the policies of the other parties as a prerequisite. This may be a tough exercise, more difficult than what they are facing against the moderates in the suspended party.

Trump card

The right wingers are pinning their hope of a comeback on suspended caretaker party leader and Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

He is their trump card in the continuing battle for power. If he can consolidate his parliamentary caucus support, he can start the pushback from inside Parliament. Caucus is the next battleground between the moderates and the right wingers.

If Mr Rabuka loses his grip on caucus he could get rolled in a no-confidence vote in caucus in the same way as Simon Bridges was defeated as National’s Opposition leader by Todd Muller in New Zealand recently.

Whatever happens, the suspended party’s woes are not completely over yet.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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