9 Jul 2004

Fiji PM says Labour is trying to avoid joining a multi-party cabinet

10:44 am on 9 July 2004

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the Fiji Labour Party is deliberately trying to stay out of his cabinet by using the court process.

Radio Legend says Mr Qarase's comment follows a statement by Labour's deputy leader, Krishna Datt, that the party will not join a mutli-party government until all court cases are over.

As well, Mr Datt said if another yet-to-be-heard Labour court case drags on into next year, only a short time will remain before the next general election and the party may decide it is not strategically viable for them to enter government.

Mr Qarase says this shows that Labour is not really interested in joining the government and is keeping away from a multi-party cabinet by using the court process.

He says that is not fair to the people of Fiji.

Mr Qarase says he has always said that the best course of action for Labour is to take the opposition benches and enable the House of Representatives to operate as a normal parliament as in any other democratic country.

Both comments came ahead of today's Supreme Court ruling on the number of seats Labour is entitled to in a multi-party cabinet.