17 May 2006

New Fiji MP yet to decide who to support

4:29 pm on 17 May 2006

A newly elected MP in Fiji, George Konrote, has so far declined to side with either of the two big parties, opening the possibility that he could hold the balance of power.

The SDL leader, Laisenia Qarase, has claimed victory but the leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry, has refused to concede as three seats remain to be declared.

If Labour wins the remaining seats, there is a chance that the SDL can be prevented from forming a majority.

The other independent MP, Robin Irwin, has said he will side with the SDL.

But, Mr Konrote told local radio that he has spoken to Mr Chaudhry.

"He called me this morning and I am most grateful to the fact that he called me. I have explained to him the position. I am an independent candidate with one seat. The best option for me is to align myself with the government of the day and I think he appreciates that position."

George Konrote.

The three remaining seats are expected to be declared later today.

Meanwhile, Mr Chaudhry, says it's too early for the SDL to claim victory and he doesn't believe that they have a mandate to govern.

Mr Chaudhry says it's not over yet.

All the results haven't been declared as yet and Mr Qarase is claiming victory with the help of two independents, not on his own. Now, those independents have not committed themselves to him as yet. I've spoken to both of them this morning and we are going to have our own discussions when I get back to Suva this afternoon.

Mahendra Chaudhry