19 May 2005

Fiji Labour government planned to sack prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry

10:11 am on 19 May 2005

It's been revealed in Fiji that members of the Labour coalition government were planning to oust their prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, before the Speight coup happened five years ago today.

The deputy prime minister deposed in the coup, Dr Tupeni Baba, has told Radio Legend that government members were already planning a vote of no confidence in Mr Chaudhry.

Dr Baba says this was being discussed by members of the Labour Party and its coalition partners - the Party of National Unity, the Christian Democrats and the Fijian Association.

Dr Baba says removing Mr Chaudhry through a vote of no confidence would have been a better alternative to the coup.

The former deputy prime minister has accused Mr Chaudhry of being dictatorial in the cabinet and not allowing his ministers any autonomy in the exercise of responsibilities for their portfolios.

Dr Baba says they did not lose the government - it was "given away" by Mr Chaudhry's attitude.

Dr Baba says after the post coup court case which restored parliament, Mr Chaudhry did not want to go back because he knew he would have been voted out.

Dr Baba says that is why Mr Chaudhry advised the president to dissolve parliament.