1 Sep 2003

Fiji's opposition leader proposes a new coalition government to end cabinet impasse

3:11 pm on 1 September 2003

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has suggested a new coalition government as a way out of the current impasse on a multi-party cabinet.

Mr Beddoes says the way forward is through a coalition between the Labour Party, the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua, the New Labour Unity Party, his United General Party and independents.

Mr Beddoes says the current minister of lands from the Conservative Alliance, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, would make a good prime minister.

He says the new group could then offer the SDL leader, Laisenia Qarase, a place in the cabinet as outlined in the constitution.

Mr Beddoes says this would ensure full compliance with the multi-party provisions of the constitution and a cabinet the size of which the country could afford and one that makes sense.

But the government has ridiculed the proposal, with the labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, saying that over 60 percent of indigenous Fijians voted for the SDL and their mandate has to be respected.

For the Conservative Alliance, the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila says Ratu Naiqama and the rest of the party are behind Mr Qarase and would support him all the way.