12 Nov 2002

Opposition groups in Fiji trying to agree over who will speak when on 2003 budget

12:27 pm on 12 November 2002

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, will deliver the official opposition reply to the government's 2003 budget in parliament next Monday.

Radio Fiji quotes Mr Beddoes as saying he has offered the main opposition reply slot at the end of the debate to the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, who leads the second largest party in parliament.

But Mr Beddoes says if Mr Chaudhry turns down the offer, the deputy opposition leader, Ofa Swann, will deliver the official opposition summing up.

Meanwhile, Mr Chaudhry says the Labour Party will respond to the budget when the debate begins.

Mr Chaudhry, whose caucus is touring the northern division, says citizens they have spoken to in the economically depressed rural areas are very critical of the budget and are asking for urgent action.

The first Rabuka government was brought down by its own backbenchers in 1993 when they revolted against his finance minister's budget.