23 Jul 2004

Fiji PM in new move to break cabinet deadlock

10:29 am on 23 July 2004

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has made a revised offer to the Labour Party to form a multi-party cabinet as required by the constitution.

Mr Qarase has told Mahendra Chaudhry, in a letter, that he's now proposing a smaller cabinet of 30 in which Labour would have 14 seats and his ruling SDL party, 16 seats.

Portfolios allocated to the government's coalition partner the Conservative Alliance and independents, not constitutionally entitled to be in cabinet, would come from the SDL's share of 16 seats.

But Mr Qarase has left it open for himself to bring in additional ministers from non-party members of the un-elected senate as allowed by the recent Supreme Court ruling on the multi-party cabinet.

In his letter, Mr Qarase has told Mr Chaudhry the portfolios he intends to assign to the party and those of its MPs, he intends to appoint to the portfolios.