25 May 2015

Suspension of Fiji opposition MP labelled a joke

11:43 am on 25 May 2015

A spokesperson for Fiji's opposition says the two year suspension handed down to one of its MPs last week is a joke, and court action is possible.

The Sodelpa MP, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, was last week suspended from parliament for two years over a slur he made about the speaker during a meeting outside parliament.

Sodelpa Party Headquarters

Sodelpa Party Headquarters Photo: RNZI / Sally Round

An opposition spokesperson, Mick Beddoes, says the supension is extremely heavy-handed, especially considering first-time offences in other countries usually result in a suspension of only a few days.

He says the opposition boycotted Parliament on Friday, and will announce what further action it will take in the next few days.

Mr Beddoes says he suspects sinister motives are behind the suspension, as Ratu Naiqama's absence means one less vote for the opposition.

"It's a suspension for two years, so therefore we're sitting in that house with a vacant seat for two years. He's not there for two years, we have one less member for two years, which again, it's pretty excessive."