MAIDEN SPEECH BY NFP LEADER PARLIAMENT OF FIJI Hon. BIMAN PRASAD

MAIDEN SPEECH BY NFP LEADER PARLIAMENT OF FIJI
Hon. BIMAN PRASAD WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2014

Madam Speaker, I join honourable Members of Parliament in thanking his Excellency our President for his most gracious speech.

On behalf of the NFP; I also thank him for setting the tone of this parliament by reminding us of responsibility that Government and the Opposition share in charting the next phase of our history.

Madam Speaker, our people have spoken. They have elected their government for the next four years. We wish the Prime Minister Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and his government well for the next four years.

Madam Speaker, I join the whole country in congratulating you on your election as our speaker. As the first woman Speaker of this House; your appointment will also serve as an inspiration to women across our country to reach for greater heights.

I also extend the NFP’s congratulations to Marama Bale Roko Tui Dreketi Honourable Ro Teimumu Kepa as the Leader of the Opposition; following on from the late Mrs Irene Jai Narayan of the National Federation Party as Deputy Opposition Leader, again a first for women in our country.

I also congratulate the Secretary-General of Parliament, Mrs Viniana Namosimalua, her Deputy, and all the Honourable women Members of Parliament.

Madam Speaker, I also again congratulate Honourable Tupou Draunidalo on her appointment as the President of the oldest political party in the South Pacific, the National Federation Party.

Madam Speaker, I extend our thanks to both the Benches in sending such a strong signal towards empowerment of women. Our country will move forward only if women and men work together honestly and equally. We are hopeful that this rare line up of talent will ensure that all government programs and laws are given detailed scrutiny for their positive impact on women and girls.

The NFP will work with you in ensuring that there is a renewed national urgency in dealing with issues that affect women especially; ranging from their serious under-represetation at top levels of civil service; to the growing incidence of domestic violence; to the painful reality of extreme poverty in which tens of thousands of women currently live in.

After 8 painful years, parliamentary democracy has returned to Fiji. It is fitting that the restoration of parliamentary democracy coincides with a period of festivity – having just celebrated Eid; and heading to celebrate Diwali. Our men led so ably led by Osea Kolinisau have already given the nation an early Christmas cheer. We have much to celebrate.

We do have much to celebrate in our return to parliamentary democracy.

Madam Speaker; to those who have had the privilege to be elected to this parliament; let me say; we have two obligations at the core of our role as MP’s. First, we have to make our democracy work; and second, we have to make our democracy work for our people.

Madam Speaker, what do I mean by that?

To make our democracy work; we need to ensure that our citizens and their organizations are able to freely comment, support and when needed criticize policies and programs being debated by this House. They need to know that our media will amplify their voices and ensure that their voices are directly heard by us. This way we will know how citizens feel about and experience government policies and programs. Our democracy will grow from this new openness.

Second, we need to make our democracy work for our people. The Honourable Prime Minister called for our support to his program for Government. We will extend that support. In extending that support, we will hold the Honourable Prime Minister to his own words.

The Honourable Prime Minister has promised a better future for our youth. We will ask that he show to this House how his programs will impact on creating jobs for our young. We will ask that he shows how his programs will contribute to increasing their incomes when in employment. Through this constructive exchange; we expect that the Government’s programs will become sharper and more impactful.

Madam Speaker, the composition of our House shows that while this House represents our return to parliamentary democracy; our democracy remains work in progress.

The fact that a vast majority of MP’s on Opposition Benches are ITaukei draws attention to the fact that institutions, laws and programs that affect ITaukei communities in specific ways need to be reviewed and consensus built around some of these issues.

As a party the NFP fought the general elections on specific issues. Team NFP had 49 men and women of integrity, honesty, and qualified to serve the people of Fiji. We did not campaign along racial and religious lines or promote lies and deceit.

We thank our members, supporters and well-wishers for placing their trust in us. We did not win any seats in the 1999 and 2006 general elections.

Madam Speaker, it is therefore a matter of some pride that the NFP is back in Parliament with 3 seats. We were here in this fine building during the Legislative Council era led by the late A D Patel in the 1960’s. Then the NFP raised issue of the need for a pensions institution for our workers.

We were here represented by the late Siddiq Koya when we extended our support to transition to full independence.

We were here when under the leadership of now retired international jurist Jai Ram Reddy when the country made considerable progress economically and socially in the 1970s and early 1980s.

We were here when that progress was painfully derailed by the start of the debilitating cycle of coups.

We are here today to help put that last 27 years of suffering behind us; heal our nation and move on to find our greatness and our rightful place as the leader of the South Pacific.

We had, like other parties contested to form government. We have fallen short. But this takes nothing away from the heroic effort led by the greatest team of volunteers in the country – the Team NFP. A heartfelt thanks to Team NFP.

We are represented by three MP’s today. Their election speaks of the resilience of the principles of fairness, equality and social justice. These principles have defined the National Federation Party inside this House and outside for all 51 years of its existence.

Madam Speaker, and Honourable Members; these are the principles that we offer to the Government to take our country forward and help it realize its full potential.

Madam Speaker,

When necessary we will criticize government’s policies. When we shall do so, it will not be for the sake of doing so, but because we in our considered view are able to provide credible alternatives.

Madam Speaker, we understand that change requires time. More than time; change requires perseverance. Growing up as a young adult in uncertain post-coup times, when my identity and religious convictions were challenged, I could in despair have packed up and left. I did not. I did not do so because I believe that we can change things for the better. This belief is at the core of my values.

I did not resign as Professor of Economics to pursue politics as a career. I joined politics with a deep conviction that through collective action and perseverance we can change things in Fiji for the better; however difficult the obstacles might be.

My upbringing has taught me the virtues of truth, righteousness. These values are highlighted especially during the Diwali festivities. But I have also grown up realizing that that the way to truth and righteousness can be a tortuous route to doing good.

Politics to me is extension of these values – through slow and deliberate collective action on that path of truth and righteousness; we pursue and seek solutions to the great problems in our national life.

Madam Speaker, As tradition dictates, His Excellency the President outlined Government’s policies for the ensuing year.

The high cost of living, the decline of the sugar industry, the crippling effects of the drought, rising unemployment, derogations in the Bill of Rights of the 2013 Constitution, regressive and draconian decrees, a regulated media and the deteriorating health system and medical services are fundamental problems that can only be resolved through leadership; collective action and perseverance.

We have been sent to this House to solve these problems. We have very little to celebrate in our parliamentary democracy when a third of our people live in extreme poverty.

We have very little to celebrate, if poor mothers across our country have to wait for hours in government hospitals for doctors to attend to their sick children.

We have very little to celebrate for so long as a situation persists where a worker employed at the minimum wage needs to work for 5 hours to earn enough to put one decent meal for his or her family.

No one party has the monopoly of ideas for fully resolving these social and economic problems. But we all share the shame that this brings to us as a nation.

We will need perseverance, frank and open dialogue and a shared commitment on all sides to seek consensusal solutions to these problems.

Madam Speaker, His Excellency the President alluded to genuine democracy and to the trust which has been placed by the people of Fiji in the honourable members of this Parliament.

The question that arises Madam Speaker is that are we living and practicing genuine democracy? Have the elections and the re- opening of Parliament re-established checks and balances, and fair-play?

Madam Speaker, the continuation of regressive decrees will render meaningless all talk of Fiji once again being a genuinely democratic nation.

The Media Industry Development Authority Decree, the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree, the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree must be repealed by Parliament because they curtail the rights of the media, ordinary workers, trade unionists, and ultimately our people.

More specifically, in a real democracy Madam Speaker, people must have the liberty to speak openly and candidly. In it the Government of the day listens and the media exercises its role as the messenger, a watchdog of democracy, and as an Independent Institution, responsibly asserting a right to speak with its own voice, and not merely echoing the voice of parliament or the executive government.

Rather it scrutinizes the consequences of actions and decisions of parliament and government on ordinary people, while consciously representing the interests of the disadvantaged and downtrodden in society and not just the powerful and wealthy or its owners and advertisers.

Such freedom to scrutinize and make known to all, if available to Fiji’s media, will ensure that the accountability and transparency called for by our President, in his opening address to Parliament, will be guaranteed.

Madam Speaker, these decrees were imposed without the participation of the aggrieved parties. Now is the chance to consult all our people directly or through their elected representatives in accordance with Section 173 of the 2013 Constitution. There has to be consensus on what is the best and ideal legislation to benefit the entire nation.

Consensus is a fundamental principle in a genuine democracy and our former Prime Minister and President, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, described consensus as an “accord amongst the people involved” in 1996.

He said and I quote, “We should realise and accept that consensus does not mean complete unanimity, desirable as that may be. It is perhaps best defined as an accord amongst the majority of the people involved and this is a most worthwhile and attainable objective”.

Consensus building requires mutual respect for each other’s views, abundance of goodwill, willingness to dialogue, capacity to listen patiently and building of mutual trust.

Both the Honourable Prime Minister and Honourable Leader of the Opposition spoke about the need to work together for the common good of all our people.

The pre-requisite for working together is transparency and accountability. As a start Madam Speaker, the immediate tabling of the Auditor-General’s Reports in Parliament for the last 8 years will be a step towards creating trust and confidence in our democracy because this is what was promised to the people of Fiji by the Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Attorney-General before the general elections.

I also urge Government to introduce Bills for the enactment of the Accountability and Transparency Commission and a Code of Conduct for public officers including Government and Members of Parliament.

The repeal or review of the draconian Decrees plus the introduction of Bills to enact legislation to promote accountability and transparency will lead to good governance and this must be done as soon as possible..

Madam Speaker I had said during the course of the Campaign that for our country to realize its full potential:

  • We need clarity about the direction of travel in rebuilding our country.
  • Second, that in rebuilding our country, we need a sense of urgency and pace; and
  • third, that we need knowledge and human resources to achieve our goals.

In my journey from Dreketi, to Labasa, to Suva, to the wider world and back to Fiji, I have followed these guidelines. I believe they are equally relevant in helping us rebuild our democracy and our economy.

In 2020, Fiji will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary as an independent country. We all have an opportunity work hard to make sure that we have real achievements to celebrate in the 50th year of our existence as a free nation. Given our many wasted years, we have a lot of catching up to do.

It is my hope that with clarity about how we must travel and a shared commitment to get there, we can reach a quality and standard of living that is comparable to New Zealand. This is not my dream. This is a reality within our grasp.

But to get there we have to avoid ‘business as usual’ path. Madam Speaker, a ‘business as usual’ would mean the continuation of fear and intimidation, of inconsistent economic policies, or of support for monopolistic behavior that stifles our creativity.

Madam speaker, ‘Business as usual’ will mean lower economic growth; meaning it will take another 30 years to double average incomes. It will create a larger urban underclass living in extreme poverty; fueling crime, harming our tourism and hurting investments.

Poor health services from a business as usual approach, Madam Speaker, will mean that 1 out of every 4 Fijians will continue to die before they reach their retirement age.

Madam Speaker, there is an alternative to this bleak future.

With clarity about our vision, certainty about the reforms needed to realize that, with some luck and the grace of God – a future of great possibilities lies within our grasp.

Madam Speaker, allow me to commend the government for two issues that his Excellency the President alluded to.

The first is the issue of improving the quality education that the Honourable Minister for Education has already stated publicly. I would urge Government to proceed with great care given its importance for our future. The last Education Commission report produced in 2000 is now 14 years old. I urge the government to appoint another Education Commission to look at the entire education system afresh. Piecemeal and rushed reforms will not be helpful.

The second issue Madam Speaker is the plan to construct a state of the art tertiary care hospital as part the FNU medical school. This is a great initiative and I commend government for it and hope that work on it will start sooner than later.

Madam Speaker,

Mr Osea Kolinisau and his men have shown that we can beat the world in sevens Rugby. Hon Iliesa Delana has shown that he can out jump the world. Vijay Singh has shown that he can beat Tiger Woods and all other golfing greats of his generation. In commerce; our Hotels feature amongst the best in the World. Fiji

Water outperforms some of the top corporations in the world. These we can do.

If we can do all these; surely we can aspire to, and match the best standards in the world in the quality and standard of education in our schools and universities.

We can surely lead and not follow the world in protecting and preserving our marine environment.

We can most certainly defeat poverty within the lifetime of this parliament.

We can certainly aspire to and provide the finest primary and basic health care in the world.

To aspire to make our country great once more, we as leaders need to work with humility. We need to shed egos and prejudices, we need to embrace dialogue and a commitment to seek consensus as a way of solving the profound problems that are a blight on this great country.

This is a beautiful country. It must become great once again. It can once again become “the way the World should be”.

I wish all the honourable members well. May God bless Fiji.

NFP President, MP Ms Draunidalo’s Maiden Parliamentary Speech

 

Madam Speaker,please allow.me to begin by apologising to you and all of the Honourable Members of this House for arriving a little late this morning.

I meant no disrespect to any of you, i apologise.

Next Madam Speaker i wish to join the other Honourable Members in warmly congratulating you on your appointment.. Your qualifications and work experience in the civil service and the region is well known but i also warmly recall other ties including your tenure as senior and supervisor to my mother at the Adi Cakobau School. Congratulations, Madam.

I am indeed honoured and privileged Madam Speaker to have been elected directly and indirectly by many other citizens of the Fiji Islands – and through that election – to be here today to speak to the address by the Head of State, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau who opened this term of Parliament last week.

As this is my maiden speech, i shall stick to the English parliamentary conventions with regard to maiden speeches. Key words for those include moderation and – that they are relatively uncontroversial, often consisting of a general statement of the politician’s beliefs and background rather than a partisan comment on a current topic. I shall do my best and leave the fireworks for later.

Speaking to His Excellency’s address at this time would suit the maiden speech description very well.

Also, maiden speeches begin with personal thank yous.

On that note, i wish to thank all those who voted for me and the party i represent. All of your votes earned these three seats, they are yours and they belong to other citizens as well.

I take this opportunity to also thank the Leader, Executives, Members and Supporters of the National Federation Party for giving me the great honour of being President. Thank you.

I thank my fellow candidates, siblings, cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grand Aunts & Grand Uncles, nieces, nephews and god children who were quite busy promoting my candidature to their friends in their schools and swim clubs and the like.

I thank my relatives in Noikoro, Beqa, Nakorosau, Moala and other parts of Fiji. I also thank my dear long suffering friends. They all know who they are. One or two may be here today. They are very private people, high achievers in their own right and i know they would prefer not to be lowered by association. Thank you all very much.

I will make special mention of my little brother for his efforts in keeping me in check over many years and ensuring that i got some votes at the last elections. Ratu Qoro or Tuks as i would call him – thank you.

Moving forward to His Excellency’s speech – it sounded very good and it said all of the right things about moving forward and ending the coup culture. Two great things that i hope i can make a positive contribution to in this term of parliament.

But as we all know Madam Speaker, words without action are empty things that produce nothing.

I am very interested that His Excellency’s speech produces great, positive things for Fiji. And so i shall make some suggestions as to how that may occur.

We cannot move forward by doing the same old things and worse, doing those same old things to a worse degree.

 

After the coups of 1987 and 2000, significant portions of the population of this country felt alien and ostracised in this their country of birth to which they and their forebears had made significant contribution.

 

I was made aware of this and was very sensitive to it from a very young age because my late stepfather Dr. Timoci Bavadra and my late mother, Adi Kuini Teimumu Vuikaba Speed led the political parties that fought hard to stop those acts of alienation and ostracism.

 

Citizens felt alienated and ostracised like they did not belong and their values and their roots made to feel inferior – something to be hidden away for the sake of avoiding unwanted attention.

 

I truly believe that those that agreed with the cause and/or action taken in 1987 and 2000 would not have understood the depth of the deprivation of their fellow citizens. Why am i so sure, Madam Speaker?

 

Although my late stepfather and mother were also leaders in non racial politics – they were nevertheless children and grandchildren of some of the oldest and conservative families in this country having roots in many chiefly houses around Fiji.

 

Those roots were in our homes, daily and we heard them – daily. Their apprehensions, fears and views. We know what motivated them and what they wanted to guard against. We also know that they were your typical hospitable Fijians. After all, hospitality is the preserve of chiefs first and foremost.

 

And I know from that experience, that not very many if any of those who supported the cause and/or action in 1987 and 2000 knew of the depth of the hurt and deprivation that they supported.

 

But it was obvious that they were certainly cocooned by their political beliefs into believing that everything was just fine and there was no need for discussion and/or reform of most things.

 

Again, i know that those that experienced the feelings of hurt and deprivation from 1987 and 2000 felt and feel it very deeply. It would have hurt them to their very core. Very few strong and unique people can ignore all that and come out of those experiences unfazed in their commitment to the greater good.

 

Very few indeed, Madam Speaker.

 

Very many carry that hurt for a very long time if not forever. We are all human, these are very human emotions – some may get over their hurt once they feel justice has been served, others may carry it for life no matter what ‘reparation’ is made.

 

This is very relevant to where we now find ourselves, again at the crossroads after the last coup. Its impact is best assessed by the favoured term of His Excellency’s government in describing it – a revolution.

 

I therefore urge His Excellency’s government to take care that it does not continue to alienate and ostracize another significant portion of the population because the end results in this country have been military coups.

 

I invite His Excellency’s government to look deeper into the maze to see that from their own analysis – about 60% of the Fijian race did not vote for them.

 

His Excellency’s government should take care not to further alienate or ostracise that number. And if they started doing the right things by that proportion of the population – they may even win their votes too over time.

 

That would mean that i and others lose votes but that is fine if the greater good is ultimately served.

 

Into the details, Madam Speaker – the first question then is what acts of the revolution by His Excellency’s government are contributing to this process of alienation and ostracism and then, how can that process be halted for the greater good?

 

Native Land

 

Madam Speaker, many Fijians now know that the entrenched constitutional provisions in the 1997 Constitution with regard to native land does not exist in the 2013 Constitution.

 

No one needs a degree in constitutional law to work that out. One only needs to read Chapter 13, Group rights of the 1997 Constitution versus Sections 27 and 28 of the 2013 Constitution to see the marked difference.

 

This factor causes feelings of apprehension, fear, alienation and ostracism viz many indigenous Fijians. They believe that this land is the source of our identity as Fijians separate and apart from all of the beautiful people and races from different lands who have their own unique and rich cultures rooted in other lands.

 

Removing entrenched constitutional provisions with regard to native land is thus an alienating and ostracising act.

 

For the first time, native land is subject to the State’s powers of compulsory acquisition. Previously, this power in this country could only be exercised over land that was not native land as alll laws affeting native land had to pass the requirements of the entrenched constitutional provisons. This is no longer the csae.

 

Fijian Administration

 

Madam Speaker, the removal of a symbolic institution like the Bose Levu Vakaturaga is an alienating and ostravising act. Yes, i am one who thought it could have been improved as nothing in this world is perfect.

 

But to promote peace, harmony and the greater good especially with the 60% i have referred to, dialogue, consultation, compromise and agreement as to reform would have been the much better route.

 

Fijian Name

 

Again, this name was used for the indigenous race for very, very many years. Our community perceived it, rightly or wrongly, as part of our identity as a race not as a citizen. His Excellency’s government could have spent very little time and resources to show sensitivity on this issue and take all of us together to the promised new Fiji under a common name. There was no need to display arogance and insenaitivity again. It did not help.

 

There are other factors which alienate other members of our country like the appearance of disrespect to their leaders in this House and elsewhere. I therefore urge His Excellency’s government to be big people. Have big minds and big hearts. Be magnanimous in your electoral victory. Show due respect and decorum to all members of this House whether they are in your party or not. Extend the same to those who voted for them. Do not be punitive. Show courage and leadership to achieve what you say you desire.

 

Broad Political Dialogue and Agreement

 

Madam Speaker, this brings me to this last heading of achieving broad political dialogue and agreement. It requires leadership on all sides, dialogue, and agreement,

 

Our former leader, the Honourable Mr. Justice Jai Ram Reddy and the former Prime Minister Rabuka who began this military coup culture in Fiji achieved this great dialogue and understanding viz the 1997 Constitution.

 

They managed to achieve the great political statement of unity of our time, the 1997 Constitution.

 

I have hope that it can be done again. That is why i am here, if i had no hope i wouldnt have participated in the general elections.

 

On that note Madam Speaker, i urge the leaders of this House to take up the challenge and take the whole country with them to ensure that we understand the past very well, reconcile our misunderstandings and differences and move forward agreeing to disagree on topical issues but in mature agreement on the fundamentals.

 

On this note i wish to pay personal tribute to my late father Colonel Draunidalo. He would like to have left me with one political advice that he voiced once “All of the flowery socialist principles that your dear mother espouses will come to nought if you do not know the art of war”.. That advice accords with what his wise Uncle also advised me once “Caution my dear, it is better to be the king maker than to be the king”.

 

I know my father made quite a few kings and queens in his time, past and present. I understand that and am happy to play my part in the back room to help in any way possible for the words of His Excellency to bear fruit for all of Fiji.

 

Vinaka vakalevu. God bless Fiji.

 

NFP WILL BE AN EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION

After almost 8 years of Military rule, democracy has returned to Fiji.

The people of Fiji have spoken through the Ballot Box, not withstanding irregularities in polling that we as a party have complained about via our letter of last Friday, providing evidence to this effect, which is just a small sample of irregularities, reports of which will be compiled and sent to the Electoral Commission seeking clarification.

Nevertheless, people of Fiji have elected a government for the next four years. we respect the verdict of the people and wish Mr. Voreqe Bainimarama and his government well for the next four years. we expect nothing short of a transparent and accountable government and we will hold the new government to this principle.

We also wish SODELPA….

National Federation Party: The choice of the 2014 general election

Speech delivered at NFP Rally, Labasa Civic Centre

10.30AM; Saturday September 5, 2014

By NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our meeting is shadowed by great pain today. Before I begin my address allow me to share our prayers for our brave men in uniform as they face this period of great uncertainty in the Mid East. Our prayers and solidarity are with the families of those in captivity. We join our Commander and The Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki Moon in calling for the immediate release of all Fijian troops. The thoughts of the whole nation are with our men.

Ladies and gentleman
As we come towards the end of the most bitter and difficult campaign in our history, allow me to speak on the choices that lie before us.

Madam President and I have taken our campaign to all corners of Fiji. I have visited all our towns, 100s of villages, and met so many of you at your homes and in communities. Thank you for welcoming us so wholeheartedly.

For the first time in our country’s political history; tens of thousands of you have linked to us from across our country and the world through Facebook, twitter and the web. I thank so many of you who have joined up with our cause through new technology platforms. This is a significant new development that offers hope for our democracy but also hope for how we achieve greatness as a country……

Misleading Advertisements: Violation of Section 144 of Electoral Decree 2014

September 11, 2014

 

The Chief Executive Officer

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation

SUVA

ATTN: Mr Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Dear Sir

Misleading Advertisements: –

Violation of Section 144 of Electoral Decree 2014

 

On Friday 5 September 2014, we filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission about the Fiji First political campaign advertisement being aired on FBC TV that depicts the National Federation Party as liars, without providing any factual basis for the statement under “SODELPA, N.F.P. and Others. Don’t Vote for Liars”.

(See https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=EilNH3soe6w&features=youtu.be).

Yesterday we were alerted to a similar political advertisement being aired on the same TV Station, as well as Radio Fiji Two, now accusing the party leader, Mr Biman Prasad of making untrue statements. Some are also airing on Radio Fiji Two questioning Professor Prasad’s credentials and misleading voters that he will raise income tax. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE LIE. None of the Fiji First advertisements attacking the NFP are based on facts. This is also a breach of the Media Industry Development Authority Decree.

Such political advertisements that have been aired on FBC TV and Radio, which are defamatory against our party leader and candidates in the September elections and calculated to mislead or deceive Fiji voters and influence them relation to the casting of their votes.

Section 144(4)(a)  of the Electoral Decree 2014 states, “Any person who at any time between the announcement of the date of the election and the close of the poll in any election, prints, publishes, broadcasts or distributes, or causes, permits or authorises to be printed, published, broadcast or distributed, any matter or thing that is likely to mislead or deceive a voter in relation to the casting of a vote”; ….

“…commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both”.

We hereby give you notice that unless you cease from airing the above advertisements on your TV channels immediately, in any event by end of business day today (i.e. 4.30pm) 11 September, 2014, failing which we will file a complaint with the police under section 144 of the Electoral Decree 2014.

We look forward to hearing from you the decision you make at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

 

……………………………..

Kamal Iyer

General Secretary

No talk yet

THERE has been no talk of a coalition between the National Federation Party and any political party, says party leader Professor Biman Prasad as he refuted claims that they had been in talks with the FijiFirst party for a possible post-election merger.

“We have repeatedly stated since December 7, 2013 that we are fighting the elections on our own and intend to solely form a majority government,” Prof Prasad said.

“Misleading the voters in an attempt to win votes is a hallmark of politicians and political parties clutching at straws. If anything, SODELPA and the FLP have both confirmed that they will form a coalition after the elections.”

Prof Prasad said if after election there was a situation where a majority hadn’t been formed, then NFP would talk to the party whose ideals and visions matched.

“We will cross the bridge when we come to it,” he said.

FijiFirst party president Dr Jiko Luveni said the party had never held talks with any other party regarding a coalition.

She said if the situation arose post-election, then party leader Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama would make the call if coalition is to be made.

Meanwhile, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said no such remarks were made at any of their meetings.

“As far as FLP is concerned, no such remarks or allegations were made. I think these reports are coming from some of their own people,” Chaudhry said.

According to political scientists, the voting system which is being used for the general election favours coalitions unless there is a majority win, which is getting more than 50 per cent of the 591,095 registered votes.

Prof Prasad said there had also been paid advertisements by a political party on FBC TV stating NFP had been lying.

“Last Friday, we wrote to the Electoral Commission and pointed out that this breached the Electoral Decree because the party isn’t saying what NFP is lying about. The truth is we have never lied or misled our people throughout our 51-year history,” he said.

Prof Prasad said there was a need for the Government to go into caretaker mode so there was accountability of State funds.

He said the perception out there is that State money is being used for political campaigning.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=279810