23 Nov 2006

Fiji's only two opposition MPs vote for budget

8:01 am on 23 November 2006

In a surprise move, the only two opposition members of Fiji's parliament sided with the government and voted for the budget.

This was despite fierce the fact that the opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, and his deputy, Bernadette Rounds Ganilau, had fiercely criticized the budget during debate.

Both have defended their actions saying they had received assurances from the prime minister on issues of concern they had raised in return for their votes.

Mr Beddoes says the prime minister has agreed to reduce the cost of the public service and to ensure that Value Added Tax or VAT is not raised beyond the 15% mark reached in this budget.

But Mr Qarase says no deal has been cut, although the two have expressed their concern in certain areas.

26 MPs of the Fiji Labour Party including 4 cabinet ministers voted against the budget while 5, all ministers, were absent from the House.