17 Aug 2002

Fiji PM defends his government's handling of the Labour claim for cabinet positions

9:17 am on 17 August 2002

Fiji's Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has called on Pacific Island Forum members to withdraw recognition from the the Fiji government

Mr Chaudhry claims the government of Laisenia Qarase has attempted to prevent a hearing of Labour's claim for seats in the Cabinet by delaying the appointment of four judges to the country's Supreme Court

Labour claims that as the country's second-largest party in Parliament it is entitled under the constitution to a role in the Cabinet.

But Mr Qarase has told the Forum meeting in Suva that the government has simply followed the full judicial process.

"I think Mr Chaudhry must learn to respect the judicial system of this country. He took the government to court, we went to court, he won the first one or two rounds and we are appealing to the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land to make the final decision. As I have already stated so many times before, whatever the outcome I will follow the outcome and I will abide by it."