4 Jul 2003

Fiji's SDL party says no place for Labour in cabinet

9:24 am on 4 July 2003

Fiji's ruling SDL party says if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the Labour Party joining the cabinet, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, will maintain his present coalition partnership, including those in cabinet.

The SDL's general secretary, Josaia Diani, says Mr Qarase needs to maintain his coalition partners because it is only they he can trust to maintain his government's majority in parliament and his appointment as prime minister.

Mr Diani says it is inconceivable that Mr Qarase should dismiss those who have stood by him since the September 2001 election, and transfer his trust to Labour - a party which has been consistent only in opposing all of the prime minister's policies.

He says the multi-party provisions of the cabinet cannot be considered in isolation from the reality of the present situation as it relates to who can be trusted.

Mr Diani says if the Labour leader insists on his party's constitutional entitlement, the rules of collective responsibility in cabinet will require Labour to support the prime minister's policies.

Mr Diani says there is no question of the SDL and its coalition partners comprimising any of their policies because they do not need Labour to maintain their majority both in cabinet and in the House.

He says a multi-party cabinet cannot work and endure unless it is based on willing parties and partners.