Fiji’s newly-elected government will decide who is to be prime minister when Parliament convenes later today (Saturday, Fiji time).
President of Fiji issued the proclamation informing political parties the first
sitting following the 2022 general election would take place at 9.30am FJT.
followed opposition parties announcing the formation of a coalition agreement,
giving them a majority of seats in Parliament.
the second time in the last 72 hours, cheers of joy erupted in the capital
after the king-maker, Social Democratic Liberal Party (Sodelpa) announced it
had joined forces with the People's Alliance (PA) - National Federation Party
decision was made by Sodelpa's 26-member management board through a secret
ballot where 13 voted in favor of the PA-NFP alliance and 12 for FijiFirst,
ending the latter's eight-year reign. One of the votes was declared invalid.
party's outgoing leader, Viliame Gavoka, said democracy had won.
went into it fully committed to ensuring that we have the best for this
believe and we have agreed on a way forward that benefits this country going
forward," Gavoka said.
leader, Sitiveni Rabuka welcomed the news.
decision has come up by Sodelpa very quick and we acknowledge the sacrifice on
their part," Rabuka said.
am grateful and honoured that they have decided to go along with the two-party
coalition choice for the leadership of Parliamentary group and
the same tune, NFP leader Biman Prasad was ready to get to work.
am personally delighted because I always believed the NFP, PA and Sodelpa would
be natural partners in a government," Biman said.
have worked with Sodelpa in government ... after the results I was quietly
confident that together we would provide a government for this country that
people would be proud of."
did Fiji get here?
the start of this week, Sodelpa announced it was forming a coalition government
with PA-NFP, but this was declared null and void following anomalies in
Sodelpa's ballot voting system, sending them back to square one.
measures had been taken to address the anomalies and irregularities identified
by the registrar of political parties, Gavoka said.
we ensure that everyone who was there was legitimate and was valid," he
decision could potentially mark the end of an era that saw 16 years of
political dominance by the coup leader turned prime minister Frank Bainimarama.
out of the woods just yet
will have to hold back their celebration until a final decision is made on the
floor of Parliament, where MPs will cast their votes for the next prime
minister and speaker of the house in a secret ballot.
vice-president and head of negotiations Anare Jale told media urgency was the
utmost priority for the party.
we are doing today is to issue directives to our three members of Parliament on
how they are going to vote for the position of speaker and also prime
minister," Jale said.
know Parliament will convene shortly, so, more the reasons these directive
needs to be in the hands of the members of Sodelpa's MP in Parliament."
added that a coalition agreement was to follow in the next few days ...
"Hopefully, something can be concluded and signed by Wednesday."
to square one
events of the day had the nation in anticipation as Sodelpa had reopened
negotiations, meeting with PA-NFP and FijiFirst.
at the meeting, a somewhat optimistic PA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, laughingly
asked the media, "is it round number two?"
him were PA deputy leader Manoa Kamikamica, NFP leader Biman Prasad, and
President Pio Tikoduadua, who said they were feeling "good" about
their chances at the meeting.
turned up ready to hit a home run with a high-powered delegation including
prime minister Frank Bainimarama, general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,
defence minister Inia Seruiratu and former military commander Viliame Naupoto
and former Commissioner of Police Iowane Naivalarua, who are both FijiFirst MPs
a press conference earlier this week, Sayed-Khaiyum rejected the validity of
negotiations among political parties outside Parliamentary process but welcomed
Sodelpa's invitation to present its bid at the meeting.
obviously look forward to them meeting again ... and obviously quite happy and
willing to do so," he said.
commended both party leaders for their presentations.
within the king-makers
has been riddled with controversy, with the party's secretary general and
leader resigning and the recent scandal regarding the party's internal
processes with regard to the secret ballot voting.
general secretary Lenaitasi Duru said he facilitated the secret ballot counting
process and witnessed irregularities.
quorum is made of 22 members ... but present at voting was 30 of which four was
non-compliant, and some of those they were sitting there wasn't supposed to be
voting," he said, resulting in the re-vote.
party members, however, feel as though they have been wronged and ousted.
candidate Koroi Tikiolomaloma told media outside the meeting room that they
(candidates) all contributed to the 5 percent (votes) Sodelpa today enjoys ...
and for us to be denied that right is very sad," Tikiolomaloma said.
was no consensual agreement. They did not sit down and ask us of our opinions.
They just going to brush things right above us."
Fiji's military has been called in to help the police amid claims of growing
Friday (Fiji time), Fiji Police said its assistant commissioner had resigned,
citing personal reasons.