25 May 2004

Fiji government says Labour frightened of committing political suicide

2:41 pm on 25 May 2004

The Fiji government says the Labour party won't join up to a multi-party cabinet because it is concerned it would be committing political suicide.

The information minister, Simione Kaitani, says he's not surprised that the Labour party says it's unlikely to join prior to the next elections.

He says the Indian community sent a clear signal in 1998 when an Indian party led by Jai Ram Reddy and the Fijian SVT party, led by Sitiveni Rabuka, announced a truce but this was rejected at the '99 polls.

Mr Kaitani says he believes the Labour party has taken note of that and never intended to join the cabinet.

"There seems to be that fear and their support for the Fiji Labour party has been, I believe, with that signal that should you at any time, marry or work together or join up with another Fijian party, a major political Fijian party, then maybe the same scenario - they may have to revisit the same scenario in 1998."

Mr Kaitani says it may well be that the multi-party concept doesn't work for Fiji and the government has been looking at what the options are.