11 Apr 2005

Fiji junior coalition partner denies suggestion of rift with SDL

3:51 pm on 11 April 2005

The junior party in Fiji's government coalition has dismissed suggestions that a rift is emerging between it and the ruling SDL party.

The Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua's assistant general secretary, Metuisela Mua, says the CMV party remains loyal to the SDL party

Reports of a rift surfaced last week after the CMV MP Manasa Tuqia refused the lands portfolio vacated by the jailed minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, and it went instead to George Speight's brother, Samisoni Tikonisau.

Mr Mua denies that Mr Tuqia's refusal stems from the government failing to meet demands laid down by the MP.

But he says the CMV has long felt that with 20 percent of the government's seats in parliament, it may have been given more appointments or portfolios.

"The members have always wondered: are we getting any benefit? The only thing that made us remain is the support of Fijian leadership. We know that we have suffered quite a lot in the process in remaining in that status, and it's been like that for four and a half years now."

CMV assistant general secretary, Metuisela Mua.