24 Nov 2004

Fiji Labour Party rejects offer of seats in multi-party cabinet

12:42 pm on 24 November 2004

The Fiji Labour Party has formally rejected the prime minister Laisenia Qarase's invitation to join a multi-party cabinet.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, made the announcement in parliament today.

Mr Chaudhry said Labour will now officially take the role of opposition.

He said Labour had done its best but there was a time to disengage and that time had come.

Mr Chaudhry said Labour could not be a party to the charade, the deception and the corruption that defines the SDL government.

He said calls were coming from all sides for Labour not to join the SDL and the party has to comply.

Mr Chaudhry said they want the SDL out of government at the next election or sooner if possible and Labour will work hard to achieve that.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, is expected to step down to enable Mr Chaudhry to take up the position.

Earlier this week, Mr Qarase had said that Labour taking up the opposition was exactly what he wanted because that would be "doing a great service to the country and be in the best interests of democracy."