18 Feb 2006

Members of pro-coup alliance in Fiji join PM's party

11:17 am on 18 February 2006

Fiji's pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party has been dissolved and its members have agreed to join the main ruling SDL party led by the prime minister Laisenia Qarase.

The motion was carried at the five-year old party's final annual general meeting in Suva yesterday despite criticism from some members.

The party leader and transport minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, told members they had been imprisoned, ridiculed and abused for the sake of the nation but they would have more power if they stood together and united.

The Conservative Alliance is reported to have submitted a list of demands to Mr Qarase as a condition of their merging into the SDL.

These are believed to include the number of ministerial positions and senate seats offered to former Conservative Alliance members, and the number of seats they will contest on the SDL ticket in the general election.

Mr Qarase says they will discuss the issues next week.