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Home >> World
UPDATED: 13:35, July 03, 2006
Roundup: Rift grows in Fiji Labor Party
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Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has expressed concern Monday that the current infighting in the Fiji Labor Party could pose a threat to the operations of the newly-built multi-party Cabinet.

The rift within the Fiji Labor Party (FLP) has reached crisis point Sunday after four senior members put a stop to a list of names for Senate submitted by leader Mahendra Chaudhry, according to Fiji Times, a local daily newspaper.

Deputy Party leader Poseci Bune, vice presidents Krishna Datt and Dr Atu Emberson Bain and board member Felix Anthony demanded that leader Chaudhry seek the management board's approval of a list of nominees to the Senate.

In a letter to Chaudhry, Bune, Datt, Dr Emberson-Bain and Anthony questioned his alleged proprietorial and secretive approach to the Senate appointments.

The Disgruntle MPs wrote to Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes Sunday, asking him to withhold the list of names submitted by Chaudhry to allow the party to sort the matter out.

Nine of the ministers in the cabinet come from the Labor Party, and Qarase said Sunday any decision resulting in expelling a Labor Party member who is in the cabinet would affect the composition of the multi-party Cabinet.

The Fiji Village, a local news service, said Monday the Prime Minister's concerns also come as President Iloilo questioned the legitimacy of Chaudhry's leadership of the Labor Party.

This happened after a dissenting faction in the party told the President that Chaudhry had not been re-endorsed as party leader after the May general election and could not nominate its senators.

But Fiji Labor Party spokesperson Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi maintained Chaudhry is the Party's parliamentary leader.

Vayeshnoi made the comment Saturday regarding claims denying Chaudhry's leadship.

Vayeshnoi said the matter of parliamentary leader was raised by some members "who were unhappy with Chaudhry's list of Senate nominees."

"Chaudhry is the person who led the Party through the 2006 General Election and has been leading after the elections," said Vayeshnoi.

A multi-party Cabinet has been formed following polls in May in which Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's United Fiji Party (SDL) retained control.

The SDL dominates the Cabinet but it also includes nine members from the SDL's bitter rival, the Labor Party, and the party's leader and former opposition leader Chaudhry decided to remain outside the Cabinet.

But he tried not to hand over the opposition leader's offices to his replacement Mick Beddoes, whose United People's Party - with two legislators - is the sole official opposition in the 71- seat parliament.

Chaudhry was ousted as Fiji's first ethnic Indian prime minister in a racially inspired 2000 coup, and has since lead the Labor for regaining of the political power.

The Fijilive, a local news service said Monday an emergency Labor management meeting was set before Chaudhry flies to Hong Kong Monday afternoon.

The traditional Labor leader as well as the multi-party Cabinet now might face real challenge during his absence, said The Fijilive.

Source: Xinhua

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