2 Aug 2003

Fiji opposition to become multi-racial party

8:20 am on 2 August 2003

The Fiji opposition leader Mick Beddoes says he's taking "the hard road" by overhauling his United General Party to become a multi-racial party.

Mr Beddoes will change the party's name to the United People's Party, and wants to have candidates from all communities standing in the next election, campaigning in their constituencies a year before polls.

He says "General" is a word that is associated with the minorities, but his party's new extension means it'll no longer include just minorities.

"I believe very strongly that we need to present a truly multi-racial party so that people can feel confident that all ethnic groups' interests are represented by this party. Right now we have a continuation of what we have had over the past thirty years wherby there still isn't a party that represents the broad interests of all the groups in Fiji, so that is what I am trying to do."