5 Dec 2003

Fiji cabinet minister dumped by his own party

9:38 am on 5 December 2003

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, has been expelled from his New Labour Unity Party.

The Daily Post newspaper says the expulsion letter was hand delivered by the party secretary, Tomasi Tokalauvere, to Mr Zinck's office.

It was signed by Mr Tokalauvere and the New Labour Unity Party president, Ratu Meli Vesikula.

The letter tells Mr Zinck that despite several warnings, he has persistently breached the party's constitution and its manifesto.

It says Mr Zinck has been ordered to resign from cabinet, sever all political links with the SDL regime and join the opposition bench.

The expulsion letter says Mr Zinck has elected to disobey lawful orders which is a clear breach and tantamount to insubordination.

Mr Zinck and Ofa Duncan were the only two New Labour candidates elected in the 2001 general election but he broke ranks and joined the government while Ms Duncan remained in opposition.

Under Fiji's laws, an MP who is expelled from his party automatically loses his parliamentary seat, but Mr Zinck can choose to challenge his expulsion through the courts.