8 Feb 2006

Former Fiji Prime Minister calls for end to racial politics

11:15 am on 8 February 2006

The former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says racial politics in the country can only be overcome if the political parties in the general election can successfully convince voters that they represent all the people in Fiji.

Mr Rabuka has told Radio Legend that parties in the Grand Coalition of Fijian Parties are currently seen as only looking after the interests of indigenous Fijians while the Fiji Labour Party is seen as a party for Indo-Fijians.

Mr Rabuka carried out two military coups in 1987 but then went on to bring about the 1997 Constitution and the present electoral system which requires the formation of a multi-party cabinet.

He says the time is now right for all the parties to decide how they want to be positioned in this year's general elections.

Mr Rabuka says Labour will have to clear up its image of being seen as an Indian party, while the Grand Coalition of Fijian Parties has to dispel the belief that they are an ultra-nationalist indigenous Fijian grouping.

Mr Rabuka says the Grand Coalition has to convince the voters that it is not a mono-racial grouping but one made up of representation from other races.

He says the two main blocs will have to project themselves as more multi-racial than their current perception among voters.