22 Nov 2004

Fiji Labour Party meeting against joining multi-party cabinet ahead of election

10:45 am on 22 November 2004

The Fiji Labour Party says it is not interested in joining a multi-party cabinet with the SDL unless the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, makes a fair offer.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has told Fiji TV that a party national council meeting at the weekend was generally against joining a multi-party cabinet ahead of the next general election.

Mr Chaudhry says the meeting has authorised him to make a decision on the issue at the appropriate time as another court case is still pending.

The general secretary of the SDL party, Jale Baba, says the government does not want Labour in the cabinet unless it agrees to accept their policies.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he is encouraged by Labour's suggestion that they may not join his cabinet because that is exactly what he wants.

Mr Qarase says Mr Chaudhry should take up the opposition because that would be "doing a great service to the country and be in the best interests of democracy."