10 Jul 2004

Negotiate on Fiji multi-party cabinet or go back to the people, says Vakatora

9:09 am on 10 July 2004

One of the three commissioners who helped frame Fiji's 1997 Constitution says the ruling SDL party and the Labour Party must go back to the people if they can't agree on the multi-party cabinet case.

Tomasi Vakatora's comments come after the Supreme Court yesterday delivered its ruling on the issue, but made no definitive judgment on Labour's claim to 17 seats in a 36-member cabinet.

Instead, the court said neither the Labour Party's claim nor the Prime Minister's offer of 14 seats was correct.

The court's urged both parties to negotiate a way of forming a multi-party cabinet to comply with the constitution.

Mr Vakatora says both parties need to start thinking in the interests of their constituents...

"Now that the court has ruled, they should go back and implement that ruling in a negotiation process. If they do not agree within a reasonable time, instead of holding"

the country at ransom, they should go to the people in either calling a general election or a referendum with the issue of whether or not a multi-party cabinet is workable.