7 Jun 2002

Fiji Labour Party leader refuses compromise in multi-party government controversy

11:42 am on 7 June 2002

Fiji's Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry says it is up to the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to make concessions in the controversy surrounding the exclusionn of Labour from the Government.

The two leaders met on Wednesday to prepare an agenda for two days of talks this weekend.

Yesterday's meeting was the first such contact between the two political rivals whose public disagreements have left the country bitterly divided.

They say three key problem areas will be discussed this weekend - the multi-party cabinet, the constitution and land lease issues.

Mr Qarase says they will try to find common ground, but Mr Chaudhry says on the matter of multi- party Government it is up to the Prime Minister to concede.

"I don't there is anything that we can compromise on because we are the aggrieved.. it's Mr Qarase who is not following the constitution, and the matter is now before the court, so on this partcular issue the constitution is quite clear the courts have so pronounced, and really if there is to be any concession it has to be on his side."

Mahendra Chaudhry.

This weekend's talks have been organised by the Hawaii-based East-West Centre.