22 Oct 2002

SDL councillors in Fiji capital defy prime minister

11:19 am on 22 October 2002

Rebel Suva City concilllors from Fiji's ruling SDL party defied the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to co-operate with the Labour Party in mayoral elections last night.

But other SDL councillors backed the outgoing mayor Chandu Umaria of the NFP-led coalition to re-elect him for another term.

Mr Umaria, who received 12 votes, was nominated by an SDL councillor.

A rebel SDL councillor nominated one of their number for mayor with the help of Labour councillors but he received only eight votes.

A newspaper reports says before the elections a poster distributed at the doors of the city council chambers confirmed that SDL councillors had ganged up against the NFP coalition which included the SVT, the United General Party and the newly formed Fiji Democratic Party.

It is not known whether rebel SDL councillors, who are described as diehard nationalists wanting indigenous control at every level of national life, will face disciplinary action from their party.