29 Aug 2003

Fiji Labour Party leader again calls for government of national unity

10:38 am on 29 August 2003

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has urged the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to respect the intent and spirit of the 1997 Constitution and accept the challenge presented by a government of national unity.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Chaudhry made the call while speaking in the Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara Memorial Lecture series just ahead of todays deadline to complete talks on a multi-party cabinet.

Mr Chaudhry says if Mr Qarase accepts the multi-party cabinet, he would go down in history as a man who put national interest above personal considerations.

Mr Chaudhry says Fiji today needs visionary leadership and leaders have a duty to explore the best possible way of taking the nation forward through policies that are just and equitable for all ethnic communities and use the diversity of talent available.

The Labour leader says this is the vision reflected in the multi-party provisions of the constitution based on the reakisation that the communal nature of Fiji's electoral system precludes fair representation of all ethnic communities in cabinet.

He says Mr Qarase is wrong in thinking that through minimum compliance with the law and token representation of the Labour Party in cabinet, he can achieve national reconciliation and national growth.