25 May 2004

The Fiji Labour party says it is unlikely to join government as part of multi-party cabinet required

2:42 pm on 25 May 2004

The Fiji Labour party is admitting that it is unlikely to join this government as part of the multi-party cabinet required under the constitution.

The party's vice-president, Krishna Datt, says there are several reasons for this, including its two cases before the Supreme court over the number of seats it's entitled to and the government not making offers in good faith.

The Labour party and the ruling SDL had held months of talks but these broke off after an impasse was reached over the issues.

Mr Datt says given that the government is about to enter into the fourth year of its five year term, it's unlikely Labour will now join.

He also says that the court cases may well make precedents over multi-party negotiations and these must be determined first.

"The Labour party views all these as important for the future now. I think it's good for us to create some precedents for any other political party that may come up and has the mandate of people to be part of the cabinet. I think it's important that we get all these mechanics of entering a multi-party cabinet cleared, and that's what we're interested in."

Mr Datt says the Supreme court case on the number of seats the Labour party is entitled to, could be decided either this week or next.

But, he says the case on good faith negotiations may take time.