26 May 2006

Warning that Fiji's multi party arrangement could fail if controversial policies pursued

6:18 pm on 26 May 2006

Fiji's Labour Party leader warns that the multi-party cabinet could fail if the prime minister continues to try and push through controversial legislation.

Mahendra Chaudhry made the comment amid debate over who is eligible to form the opposition and be opposition leader.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has said his understanding of the law is that with Labour now part of the cabinet, its backbenchers and their leader would be part of the government.

Legal opinion supports Mr Qarase's view, but Mr Chaudhry says an effective opposition is vital, given the prime minister's plans to introduce legislation such as the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Mr Chaudhry says Labour will endeavour to make the multi-party cabinet work.

"We'll give it our best shot, and if its not going to work it won't be because of us it'll be because of Mr Qarase and the controversial legislation that he wants to push through."

He says if any of his nine MPs in cabinet run into difficulties, it'll be up to them to resign from their posts.