11 Sep 2003

Fiji PM reportedly to take legal action against Labour in cabinet wrangle

7:10 am on 11 September 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, is reported to be considering legal action against the Labour Party.

Radio Fiji quotes Mr Qarase as saying the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has declined his invitation for the party to join a multi-party cabinet.

Mr Qarase says he is disturbed by Mr Chaudhry's reaction as they had agreed to proceed with the formation of a multi-party cabinet and wait for the supreme court decision on Labour's claim for 17 seats instead of the 14 offered.

Mr Qarase says the government will begin legal proceedings against Labour if they have good grounds but that decision will be made next week.

He says all avenues are being explored, especially when it seems Mr Chaudhry and Labour Party do not want to accept his invitation.

Mr Qarase will brief President Iloilo on the outcome of the talks on the multi-party cabinet as ordered by the supreme court before making a public announcement next week.

The president is on a state visit to China and is scheduled to return this weekend.

14 Labour MP's invited by Mr Qarase to join his cabinet have declined to do so, saying Mr Chaudhry will decide on who joins the cabinet.