18 Mar 2004

Fiji opposition leader criticises Labour Party writ against prime minister

8:09 am on 18 March 2004

Fiji's opposition leader has criticised the Labour Party's latest legal case against the prime minister over the issue of a multi-party cabinet.

Mick Beddoes says the FLP's case only serves to further frustrate an already frustrating situation.

Labour has filed a writ asking the High Court to declare that Laisenia Qarase did not negotiate in good faith when he invited the FLP to join a multi-party cabinet last year by offering 14 minor portfolios and excluding Mahendra Chaudhry and other senior party figures.

Mr Beddoes says the case is a setback to what little progress the two leaders had made in recent weeks.

He says the latest case is designed to drag out the ultimate decision on the multi-party case for as long as possible.

Mr Beddoes says the government has now passed the half-way mark in its five year term and the fact that the issue remains unresolved seems to indicate that neither party wants it.

Mr Beddoes says Mr Chaudhry, having won the first case, is now using the courts to obtain further declarations that do nothing more than frustrate the process.

The opposition leader says at the end of the day it is clear that neither leader wants to work with the other.