5 Jun 2003

Fiji PM rules out snap election

7:16 am on 5 June 2003

Fiji's prime minister has dismissed suggestions that he may hold up a snap general election if the Supreme Court case on the multi-party cabinet later this month goes against the government.

The suggestion came from the former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, who is revamping gis Fijian Political Party, the SVT, in preparation for an election.

But Laisenia Qarase has told Radio Fiji's Fijian language programme that the coalition government between his SDL party and the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua is strong and there is no reason to have a snap election.

Mr Qarase says the coalition has the numbers to govern comfortably.

As well, he says, the 2001 election cost 8-million US dollars and the next one could cost up to 10-million.

Mr Qarase says the country cannot afford such expenses.

He says his government is prepared to invite the Labour Party to join the cabinet if the Supreme Court case is in their favour.