7 Sep 2005

Fiji government partner says it does not seek reinstatement of its jailed leader

10:30 am on 7 September 2005

The junior partner in Fiji's coalition government, the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua, will not demand the reinstatement of its jailed parliamentary leader back into cabinet on his release.

Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu resigned as minister for lands when he was jailed for eight months for his role in the Labasa army mutiny at the height of the coup.

He was released 11 days later to serve his sentence extramurally which he is due to complete next week.

Radio Legend quotes the Conservative Alliance party president as saying they will not insist that Ratu Naiqama be given a cabinet portfolio when he resumes his seat in parliament.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has declined to comment.

But Radio Legend says it has been reliably informed that Ratu Naiqama is likely to be given one of the several portfolios which Mr Qarase is currently handling personally.