8 Aug 2003

Fiji lawyer says return to Supreme Court may be only option

4:33 pm on 8 August 2003

A leading Fiji lawyer says different interpretations of the latest Supreme Court ruling on the government's Multi-Party Cabinet mean that the decision needs to be clarified by the Supreme Court.

Fiji's Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, may go back to the Supreme Court for a ruling on how many seats each side should have in Cabinet.

Richard Naidu says the issue is about interpretation, after the Supreme Court stated in its judgement that Labour was entitled to more seats than most thought it was entitled to.

Mr Naidu says while Labour has asserted that right, Mr Qarase's SDL party argue they are not bound by it, and that leaves only one option.

"Well, if the parties can't agree on what the court meant when it said what it said then there really is no choice, because they can't agree, but to go back to the courts again. And I suspect that if the parties were friendlier to each other this is something that could have been worked out without resort to the courts, but that's simply not the situation we have."

Fiji lawyer Richard Naidu.