1 Aug 2005

Indigenous coalition is racial politics, says Fiji Labour Party

8:40 am on 1 August 2005

The Fiji Labour Party says the country cannot afford to allow destructive racial politics to take centre stage again, adding that it has brought anarchy, strife and suffering three times in 18 years.

The Fiji Times reports that the warning came as five indigenous Fijian political parties signed an agreement at the weekend to form a grand coalition to share preferences in next year's general election and form a government.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, told the party's annual convention at the weekend that people have a choice in whether race continues to play a part in fragmenting the country.

Mr Chaudhry said voters can choose to be governed by those who aim to keep people segregated in racial compartments so they can continue to enjoy their privileged status in society at the people's expense.

Meanwhile, the National Federation Party says the politics of race played out on the national scene has frustrated many voters keen to get on with their lives.

The NFP's general secretary, Pramod Rae, says there's no other way forward for Fiji except the politics of moderation by accepting the fact that it is a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious country.