30 Jul 2004

Fiji PM reveals cabinet sharing terms

7:20 am on 30 July 2004

Fiji's Prime Minister has revealed the contents of his letter to the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, on the make-up of a multi-party cabinet.

Laisenia Qarase has told the Fijian language station, Radio Fiji One, that like last year, he has offered the party 14 ministries, whilst his SDL coalition will have 16.

There would also be three from the Senate to make up a cabinet of 33 members.

Mr Qarase says the ministries would be the same as offered to Labour last year and the same party members would be made ministers.

He says although a multi-party cabinet is enshrined in the constitution, its composition is the sole prerogative of the prime minister, no matter which party's in the driving seat.

Mr Qarase says he will be writing to Mr Chaudhry to remind him that whilst the constitution calls for a multi-party cabinet, its make-up and those who hold portfolios are the responsibility of the prime minister and no-one else.

Mr Chaudhry and the senior Labour MP, Poseci Bune, are missing from Mr Qarase's line-up.

In the past Labour has repeatedly described the portfolios offered as minor and a joke.