Ratu Naiqama And Others Leaving Expected: Duru

“I am committed to toppling this Government and be part of the change,” he said last night
01 Nov 2022 12:00
Ratu Naiqama And Others Leaving Expected: Duru
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu (left) and Ro Filipe Tuisawau were among those who resigned from SODELPA. Photos: Ronald Kumar and Jone Salusalu

Former Opposition leader Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu felt like he was on top of the world yesterday after his expected move to the People’s Alliance Party (PA).

Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka confirmed that the Cakaudrove high chief had applied for a ticket to stand for the People’s Alliance.

Ratu Naiqama handed in his resignation to the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) office on Saturday. Ratu Naiqama said he was happy to be part of the process he believed in.

“I am committed to toppling this Government and be part of the change,” he said last night


Other SODELPA MP’s who have resigned and are likely to join Mr Rabuka are Mitieli Bulanauca, Inosi Kuridrani, Antonio Lalabalavu, Peceli Vosanibola, Ro Filipe Tuisawau and Jese Saukuru.

They were at the People’s Alliance headquarters at Knolly Street, Suva yesterday afternoon.

Mr Rabuka said the time was right for the former SODELPA MPs to be making their move.

“We can confirm that they have shifted and been interviewed by the selection committee. Their announcement as candidates will take place next week,” he said.

“Those that were interested in standing for the political party had sent in their expression of interest or intention. The selection will now take place.


“For them to be selected as candidates for our party depends on the list that we already have. These people have proven themselves in the poll in the past,” he said.

When asked about his thoughts of Mr Bulitavu joining FijiFirst, he said it was an open view and a politician could apply for a ticket in a party they believed in.

“I think he is reacting to the ostracisation that he had experienced while he was with SODELPA.

“Maybe he feels better off with another party,” he said.


Reason For Resignation

Ro Filipe has cited internal conflicts within the party as the reason for some MPs resigning from SODELPA.

He said the party executives could not reconcile the differences between party members.

“We all have been interviewed by People’s Alliance and at the moment we are waiting for confirmation in terms of our candidacy,” he said


“Some of the unresolved issues within the party were the cause of our resignation and we believe that our political objective and what we stood for would be better served when we move out of SODELPA.

He is confident that those who voted for them in the last election understood their move to PA.

“For most of us, we have our own base supporters. So when we move, we move with our supporters as you would understand,” he said.

“We have also joined because we believe we can achieve our political objectives. This was not a sudden move,” he said.

He said it was unfortunate that it had come to this stage for them to move out of SODELPA because the executives could not resolve the internal differences within the party.


No Surprises

SODELPA general secretary Lenaitasi Duru said it came as no surprise that the seven MPs would join the People’s Alliance.

“None of them have stated their reason for resigning from the party in the letter,” he said.

“Mr Bulitavu was announced as a provisional candidate for FijiFirst and we are expecting the rest to be announced as provisional candidates for People’s Alliance.

“They have always indicated that they support the former party leader Mr Rabuka. So it is not surprising that they will go there.”


He said the party wishes them well in their future endeavours.

“Our supporters on the ground are SODELPA people. They are for the party not for individual people.

“They remain steadily behind SODELPA. We have six weeks to try and mitigate this if it has an impact on the political party.”

He said the other former SODELPA MP expected to hand in his resignation to the party is Ratu Tevita Niumataiwalu.



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