2 Jun 2006

Fiji's new opposition leader says he is ready for challenge

6:12 pm on 2 June 2006

Fiji's new opposition leader says he's ready for any challenge from the Fiji Labour Party to his appointment.

Mick Beddoes appointment to the contentious position follows a week of debate over whether he or the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, were entitled to the job.

Mr Beddoes, who is the leader of the United People's Party, says he's relieved that he has been picked and that speculation has finally ended.

He says that while he is aware of suggestions that Labour could challenge his appointment, Mahendra Chaudhry has so far been supportive.

"I think its for them to wage the battle if they're unhappy and I'll have to deal with that as it comes. I'm hoping however that I'll be in a better position to know once Mr Chaudhry and I have sat down on a one on one basis and had a discussion."

Mr Beddoes says he is sympathetic towards Mr Chaudhry's plight and he is prepared to give him all the time he needs to vacate the opposition leader's office in parliament.

The two former coalition partners are expected to meet on Monday.