10 Sep 2003

Fiji top leaders to meet on multi-party cabinet issue

8:20 am on 10 September 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, are expected to meet today to decide whether the multi-party cabinet will go ahead.

Radio Fiji reports that the meeting will take place as a deadline by Mr Qarase expires today for Mr Chaudhry to inform the prime minister whether 14 Labour MPs will take up cabinet positions they have been offered.

Last week, the 14 wrote to Mr Qarase telling him they were surprised to be named because they had not been consulted and expressing concern that senior Labour MPs including Mr Chaudhry had been excluded.

The 14 said only Mr Chaudhry would decide which Labour Party members would join the cabinet.

The Labour Party has also said they would not be taking up cabinet positions until the supreme court has ruled on their claim to be entitled to 17 seats in cabinet in place of 14 offered by Mr Qarase.