12 Jun 2003

Fiji's multi-party cabinet provisions to be discussed at "talanoa" talks

8:31 am on 12 June 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisnia Qarase, wants to remove the multi-party government provisions of the 1997 Constitution as a matter of priority.

The Fiji Times reports that the issue is high on the agenda of the next session of "talanoa" talks between the government and the Labour Party.

Mr Qarase is quoted as saying the multi-party cabinet clause in the constitution force parties with different political ideals to work together.

The matter has come to the forefront ahead of next week's sitting of the Supreme Court in which the government is appealling an earlier Court of Appeal ruling that the Labour Party is constitutionally entitled to be part of the cabinet.

Meanwhile, both Mr Qarase and the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, have ruled out a snap election after the Supreme Court ruling.

Mr qarase says the government is not considering a snap election while Mr Chaudhry says a snap election will not solve the problem because Labour would still have the necessary 10 per cent of seats in parliament required for a multi-party cabinet.