24 May 2006

New Fiji Labour ministers upbeat about coalition government

7:52 pm on 24 May 2006

The newly sworn in Fiji Labour Party ministers in the country's first multi-party cabinet have given an assurance that there will be no conflict now that they are in the government.

The minister for environment, Poseci Bune, has told Radio Legend that as in any other cabinet there will be serious differences at times.

But, he says, there will be mechanisms like cabinet subcommittees to address and resolve most of the differences.

Mr Bune says because of Labour's absence from the last government, such mechanisms were not available.

The minister for labour and industrial relations, Krishna Datt, says the multi-party cabinet will give an opportunity to both parties to bring their issues to the table.

Mr Datt says the two parties have a shared mandate so they need to develop a common platform on which they can both agree.

He says both parties already agree on about 80 percent of the issues in their manifestos, leaving only a small number about which there are differences.

Mr Datt says if the prime minister wants to, he can leave the difficult issues to the end or start dialogue on them in the middle of the government's term.

The first meeting of the new parliament is due to start on June the 5th with the first item of business being the appointment of a Speaker.