1 Sep 2006

Fiji's Chaudhry notes lack of communication with PM

3:47 pm on 1 September 2006

Fiji's Labour Party leader has admitted that he and the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, seldom talk.

Mahendra Chaudhry made the comment amid a row over his party not being consulted about massive electricity price hikes.

Consumers are facing a 30-percent increase in the cost of electricity this month because of the Fiji Electricity Authority's mounting losses.

Mr Chaudhry says there must be inter-party talks on anything of national importance if the multi-party cabinet is to survive.

"There should be inter-party talks on this, not at the cabinet level, but at the party to party level. Because my cabinet ministers do not have the mandate of this party to commit the party in any way unless there's prior discussion on issues of national importance."

Mr Chaudhry says the price hike will have a major impact on the poor and households and businesses will not be able to absorb the extra cost easily.