24 Jul 2003

CCF critical of Fiji's prime minister on multi-party cabinet statements

3:50 pm on 24 July 2003

Fiji's Citizen's Constitutional Forum has hit out at the prime minister Laisenia Qarase's statements about a multi-party cabinet with Labour.

The CCF's executive director, the Rev Akuila Yabaki, says the options spoken of by Mr Qarase are not in keeping with Constitution and the ruling of the Supreme Court.

The Rev Yabaki says the Prime minister's proposal to expand his existing cabinet of 22 to 36 to accommodate Labour doesn't fulfill the proportionality requirements of the constitution.

"It's not for Qarase, as it were, to raid the FLP cupboard and just take what he wants. That's not the way. There is a party solidarity here which has to be respected and so he will to have to work from the list that is provided by the FLP leader."

Rev Yabaki also says the prime minister's request for Mahendra Chaudhry's Labour Party to stay in opposition breaches the Supreme Court's ruling on power sharing.

Talks among party leaders are underway in an effort to comply with the supreme court ruling as soon as possible.