23 Jun 2006

Fiji FLP minister cautious about stressing coalition

1:19 pm on 23 June 2006

A senior Fiji Labour Party MP says the new coalition government should not be used as leverage to force through party policies.

The minister for labour, Krishna Datt, made the comment after the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, threatened to pull his MPs out of the multi-party cabinet unless the government made major changes to its affirmative action programmes.

Mr Chaudhry's threat followed the release of a damning Human Rights Commission report which says the programmes are race-based and unconstitutional.

Mr Datt says that the power sharing arrangement with the ruling SDL party must remain.

"I think the best action for the Labour Party would be to ask its ministers in government to persuade the other half to try and work within the constitution. I think there's a whole lot of need here to use influence strategies rather than direct action."

Mr Datt claims that while he and Mr Chaudhry differ over various issues, they are not irresolvable.