10 Jul 2004

Fiji's National Federation Party speaks out on multi-party stalemate

9:12 am on 10 July 2004

Fiji's National Federation Party says the Supreme Court judgement on the multi-party cabinet case is strong criticism of both the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

The court made no definitive judgment on the number of seats each party should have in a multi-party cabinet and urged both leaders to negotiate a way of forming one.

The NFP leader, Prem Singh, says the Supreme Court has reiterated that the constitution mandates genuine and equitable sharing and places great emphasis on the spirit of the constitution.

He says Mr Qarase and Mr Chaudhry have flouted the spirit of the constitution and appear to want to remain just "ranting" political leaders if they continue with their ethnic chauvinism to ensure their survival in the next general election.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, says the court has brought the issue back to personal relationships and it is unlikely there will be a multi-party cabinet before next year.