Coalition government on cards for Fiji
An Auckland -based Fijian academic Steven Ratuva says there is a real possibility of a coalition government following the election in Fiji.
An Auckland -based Fijian academic Steven Ratuva says there is a real possibility of a coalition government following next week's election in Fiji.
Dr Ratuva says if the polls published so far are to be trusted, the earlier overwhelming support for the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is slipping.
STEVEN RATUVA: There are a number of reasons for that. One is because of the way in which the small political parties have drawn away support and also the way in which SODELPA has gained a lot of support as well and FijiFirst may have lost a lot of support as well. The last popularity poll before the election will be this weekend so that will give you an idea of where the political parties are before the election. I mean if the popularity polls are to be trusted then the possibility of a coalition is very real which means that FijiFirst, if it wins it might win with a very small margin, otherwise it may not have the majority and therefore it needs to have a coalition with someone else. It is really at a time now when political parties should really be looking at possible coalitions because of the possibility that no political party can actually have a straight majority.
SALLY ROUND: How do you think those coalitions might pan out?
S RATUVA: Well I think it's possible to do that because already some political parties have talked about coalition for instance the Fiji Labour Party and SODELPA. Some are quite silent at the moment because they don't want to jump the gun and they're waiting until after the results come out.
S ROUND: Who might FijiFirst go into coalition with?
S RATUVA: There have been suggestions that maybe the National Federation Party, but the National Federation Party has publicly denied that because in Fiji anything can happen overnight. It has happened before, where political parties which are totally against each other, they end up forming a coalition. There are two major political parties, you have SODELPA and then you have FijiFirst and five smaller parties and those five smaller parties and two independents, they can actually become kingmakers if the situation arises where no one gets the majority so they can actually shift anywhere and the power balance can shift in any direction.
S ROUND: Can you see those parties grouping together in a coalition against FijiFirst?
S RATUVA: Well it depends very much on the circumstances and the personalities because again at the end of the day what you see is that coalitions are actually driven by political ambition, by opportunism, by politicians trying to gain ministerial positions. Whether somebody is your enemy or not again that's another issue. So whether the small parties will go for SODELPA or go for FijiFirst depends very much on the circumstances, depends very much on the commonalities they may have. Some of them may go for FijiFirst if they are interested in terms of what they want.
A senior lecturer in Pacific Studies at Auckland University, Steven Ratuva, speaking to Sally Round
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