17 Feb 2006

Fiji's SDL rejects suggestions it is merging with its junior coalition partner

4:34 pm on 17 February 2006

Fiji's ruling SDL party says it has not merged with its pro-coup junior coalition partner.

The national director of the SDL, Jale Baba, says the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party decided to dissolve and join the SDL, at its own initiative.

He says the two parties did not discuss joining forces, but share a common vision.

"In fact there's a misconception that there's a merger between the two parties. What has happened is that the CAMV has decided to wind up that party and for them to become members of the SDL party."

A former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says that uniting indigenous Fijian political parties is good for the country, as long as it doesn't promote hardline nationalism.

Mr Baba says the SDL is keen to protect Fijian heritage for Fijians but its policies have always been inclusive.