15 Aug 2014

Fiji Labour Party likely to survive - academic

1:46 pm on 15 August 2014

An academic says the Fiji Labour Party is likely to survive after the conviction of its leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, but will have to take a new form.

The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Chaudhry, blocking his ability to contest the election next month.

Chaudhry was convicted in April of breaching the Foreign Exchange Act.

A Fiji academic at the Australian National University, Brij Lal, says while it may be the end of Chaudhry's parliamentary career, he is a skilled politician who will continue to influence the party from the outside.

"The identity of the Labour Party has been tied with the name of Mahendra Chauhdry, but now he is effectively no longer in the political arena at least as far as elections are concerned and as parliament is concerned, that is a matter that will affect the Labour Party in the future. Of that there is no doubt."

Dr Brij Lal says there is a sense Chaudhry's trial was timed in a way to hobble opposition to the regime before the election, as Chaudhry was a threatening and visible opponent.

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Photo: Fiji Labour Party