27 Jun 2016

Rabuka says Fiji's SODELPA party is not divided

10:11 am on 27 June 2016
The leader of Fiji's opposition SODELPA party, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Sitiveni Rabuka has been elected to lead the main opposition party, SODELPA. Photo: AFP

The new leader of Fiji's opposition SODELPA says his involvement in the 1987 coups has not held him back from success.

On Friday former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka was confirmed as the main opposition party's new leader.

Mr Rabuka had led two coups in 1987 before becoming prime minister in 1992, before he lost the 1999 election.

The outgoing SODELPA leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has said she did not want Mr Rabuka to be appointed because of his coup past.

His appointment has also prompted some high profile SODELPA members to leave the group.

But Mr Rabuka said a lot of time has passed and most people were not seeing him through negative eyes because of his actions during the coups - which he again apologised for last week.

"My selection tells me that there are people who remember my performance as Prime Minister. Those who are still in dissent remember my performance as a coup leader," he said.

"To come out and win the majority of party support means that views are changing. Those that negatively see me because of the 1987 coup are probably now a minority."

Sitiveni Rabuka said his party was not split.

He said his focus would be on healing, consolidating existing support and widening the party's base through a grassroots, multicultural approach.

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