18 Aug 2003

Fiji Labour Party leader accuses prime minister of dishonesty over multi-party cabinet

10:24 am on 18 August 2003

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has accused the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, of being dishonest and not negotiating in good faith on the issue of a multi-party cabinet.

The Sunday Times reports that Mr Chaudhry made the accusation in a letter to Mr Qarase following their latest round of talks last week.

Mr Chaudhry says in the letter that the prime minister is reported to have said that should Labour MPs join the cabinet, he would immediately propose changes to the constitution and land lease laws.

He says Mr Qarase is also reported to have said that should he not receive their support he would dismiss them all, thus putting an end to the multi-party cabinet.

Mr Chaudhry has told Mr Qarase to abandon any such thoughts and engage in good faith negotiations.

Mr Chaudhry also questioned the allocation of portfolios to Labour, saying they are neither fair nor reflect Labour's political mandate.

The two men are not likely to meet again until next week.