30 Mar 2006

Fiji election bidding crosses party boundaries

1:47 pm on 30 March 2006

Fiji politicians who have been unsuccessful in getting the endorsement of their parties to contest the May general elections have been seeking new alliances and alignments.

The Fiji Times reports that supporters of the caretaker minister for housing, Col Pio Wong, have approached the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, to get Labour's second preferences for him.

The ruling SDL party has dropped Col Wong from its candidate line-up and he will stand as an independent candidate for the Serua / Navosa Open seat.

Mr Chaudhry says the Labour Party's management board will consider Col Wong's request before making a decision.

Meanwhile, two former MPs of the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party who have also been dropped by the SDL are to stand as independents against the government in Vanua Levu.

One is the former deputy speaker of parliament, Manasa Tugia, who headed parliament's justice, law and order committee which heard public submissions on the government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Another is government backbencher Josateki Vula who entered parliament when the first deputy speaker, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, was jailed for six years for serious coup offences.

Both men say they do not agree with the dissolution of the Conservative Alliance and its merger with the SDL earlier this year.